Unequal Life Chances: Equity and the Demographic Transition in India — by Harsh Mander, Anirban Bhattacharya, Vivek Mishra, Astha Singla, and Usman Jawed Siddiqi

India is passing through a phase where a major share of its population is in its prime and of working age. Many have spoken of the ‘dividend’ that we could reap from what is being called the ‘youth bulge’. With the gaping inequalities in our society, the youth in this country encounter gross disparities in their life chances and in their opportunities to realise their potential. In this volume, we have attempted to look closely at India’s demographic transition, specifically from the perspective of social and economic equity.

Other than covering the important elements of the debate on India’s demographic transition, the book attempts to makes a signal contribution in bringing together issues of social justice and economic inequality to bear on the mostly technocratic framing of the subject. Thus, it is an attempt to highlight that all decisions about economic ‘development’ or growth are politically infused and should be addressed as such.


About the Authors

Harsh Mander is a writer, human rights activist, teacher and peace worker. He works with survivors of mass violence and hunger, homeless persons and street children. He is associated with movements for communal harmony, right to food, right to information, bonded labour and the right of adivasis. He is the Director of Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi.

Anirban Bhattacharya worked on plantation labour history in his PhD dissertation submitted in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. He currently works as a senior researcher at the Centre for Equity Studies.

Vivek Mishra is a PhD student at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University, Boston. Formerly, he worked at the Centre for Equity Studies and coordinated the India Exclusion Report 2017–18.

Astha Singla is a Research Scholar at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, JNU. Her main research interests cover various aspects of labour economics (youth labour markets, disadvantaged groups in the labour market, school to work transition, skill development, evaluation of labour policy) and development economics.

Usman Jawed Siddiqi has an MPhil in Sociology from the University of Delhi. He works as a senior researcher at the Centre for Equity Studies and coordinates the India Exclusion Report. He is interested in debates about the nature of capitalist development in India and in exploring alternatives to the same.