Ankita Chakrabarty and Pankaj Sharma/ Zee Research Group/ Delhi
When India woke to the fruit of freedom, it has zillions of aspirations. But carrying these aspirations were men and women who did not have age as their virtue. But freedom brought with it the bonus of converting India progressively into a nation of the young. Six decades plus down the line, India is a young nation with a mission to reach the sky. But there might be a dampener for the young today are governed by the old who seemed to have taken a vow to hold on. As policy experts squabble over whether India would be able to garner the demographic advantage, it is time to traverse the journey from the old to the young to the old.
The synthesis of youth and politics is about hope, revolutionary ideas, transformations and a brighter future. However, India which is expected to become the world’s youngest nation by 2020, has been riding on the shoulders of older parliamentarians.
Average age of Cabinet which was 60.46 at the time of National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) last reshuffle in 2003 has jumped to 65.3 after the recent reallocation in the current UPA government. In 2004, when UPA was first sworn in under the aegis of Dr Manmohan Singh, the average age of Union Cabinet ministers was 61 which reached 63.51 after a reshuffle in January 2006.
The average age of the Cabinet further jumped to 64.65 after another reshuffle in April 2008. The average age of the Union Council of Ministers (Cabinet, MoS and Independent) too has been on the rise. At the time of last NDA reshuffle in 2003 the average age of Council of Ministers was 57.33 which has now reached 59.73 years. In May 2004, the average age of Council of Ministers was 59.47; it increased to 59.44 and 59.73 after the reshuffle in January 2006 and April 2008 respectively. After coming to power second time, the UPA had slightly reduced the average age of Council of Ministers to 58.03. The July reshuffle, however, brought it down by a whisker to 59.73.