New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said policymakers should emphasize the provision of adequate job opportunities as economic growth would be meaningful and inclusive only if the living standards of every Indian were improved.

“Growth which favours the top deciles or an even lower proportion of the population can never be sustainable or desirable. Balancing growth with equity and social justice is a fundamental requirement of our democratic polity," he said.

Mukherjee was speaking while inaugurating a three-day annual conference of the Indian Economic Association, a body of economic professionals, in Hyderabad. The main theme of the conference this year is growth, inequality and human development. The Indian Economic Association is a member of the International Economic Association, a federation of national economic associations from developed and developing countries, and regularly interacts with the international counterpart on economic policy issues.

The president said that the government should focus on achieving growth with job creation because the bulk of Indians are of working age.

As per a report by Macquarie Research and Global Demographics, the Indian working-age population is expected to increase by 100 million in the next 10 years. According to UN estimates, 285 million people will be added to India’s working-age population by 2050, compared with nearly 210 million fewer workers in China by then.

Experts believe that policies to create more jobs and sharpen the skills of the labour force will be needed to take advantage of this demographic edge.

Since the National Democratic Alliance government came to power, it has initiated campaigns such as ‘Make in India’, which have the potential to create jobs. The government has also put an emphasis on the ‘Skill India’ programme and allocated around 5,040 crore for skill development across ministries in the Union budget of 2015-16.

Mukherjee called for a careful study of not just income disparities but also of their source. “That is the urgent task for economists to undertake," he told economic and other professionals attending the 98th edition of the annual conference.

Talking about sustainable development, the president said that the Paris declaration on climate change and the green proposals for attaining socially just and environmentally sustainable livelihoods showed the commitment of the world economies to the cause of environment.

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