New Delhi: Warning of a changing demographics and ageing population, the government in the Economic Survey 2018-19 on Thursday proposed the idea of increasing the retirement age and focusing on merging of schools.

A study that was tabled in the Parliament titled ‘India’s Demography at 2040: Planning Public Good Provision for the 21st Century’ stated that the life expectancy for males and females in India may rise resulting in a prolonged old-age.

The survey highlighted that although India is likely to benefit from the “demographic dividend” phase in the long run, some states might witness an advanced transition to the ageing society as early as the 2030s with population growth slowing down.

“Demographic projections show that India’s population growth will continue to slow rapidly over the next two decades, growing less than 1 percent during 2021-31 and under 0.5 per cent during 2031-41,” the study read.

The reason for the rapid ageing is believed to be a result of a sharp decline in the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) below replacement level. As a result, many companies especially those that were eying at India’s youth population are likely to face the implications.

It included that student enrollments in states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh as well as Madhya Pradesh are already less than 50 in more than 40 percent of the elementary schools, while Chhattisgarh, Assam and Odisha follow a similar trend.

Hence, with a lesser young population in line, the study mentioned that the focus needs to be on merging schools. ” Contrary to popular perception, many states need to pay greater attention to consolidating/merging schools to make them viable rather than building new ones,” it read.

On the other end, policymakers need to prepare for the ageing society with more health care investments and higher retirement age prospects.