India has long been touted as the world’s next major economic superpower. It has achieved remarkable growth – over 270 million Indians were pulled out of poverty between 2005 and 2015, according to the United Nations Development Programme – have helped make it the world’s fifth-largest economy.
And its youthful population – more than half its citizens are under the age of 25 – meant it was set for further expansion.
However, experts fear that benefits from this demographic dividend are now under threat. India’s draconian COVID lockdowns mean many children have missed out on large chunks of education, many will never return to school and the already huge gap between rich and poor has become even wider.
In March 2020, schools and other education institutions closed their doors and by August 2021 many students still hadn’t returned to their classrooms.