Pankaj Sharma/ Zee Research Group
India, which is expected to become the world’s youngest nation by 2020, has been riding on the shoulders of older parliamentarians. The recent Cabinet reshuffle in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has proved that the seat of power rests perpetually with the old.
An analysis of the age of Union Cabinet ministers has shown that barring one instance, each time a reshuffle took place in the last eight years the Cabinet became older. 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 Cabinet further jumped to 64.65 after another reshuffle in April 2008.
The UPA started the second innings with a promise to induct youth in the government and reduced the average age of Cabinet from 64.65 to 63.14. But the same didn’t last very long as in the recent reshuffle the average age of the Cabinet rose to an all time high of 65.3.
Like the age of Cabinet ministers, 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.
However, after another reshuffle in January 2011, the average age of Council of Ministers increased to all time high of 60.20. The July reshuffle, however, brought it down by a whisker to 59.73.
In contrast, as per a study of National Council of Applied Economics Research (NCAER) done last year two third of India’s population is under 35 and the average age is expected to be only 29 years old in 2020. Study also mentions that 459 million people are between the age of 13 and 15.