Ageing Germany woos Indian students, workers

Hyderabad, April 26 (IANS) With its labour force likely to decline by 6.5 million people by 2025 because of its ageing population, Germany is looking to attract young students and skilled workforce from India.

German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner Friday said India and Germany can complement each other by exploiting their demographic advantages.

“In 2025, we will have minus 6.3 million workforce, not just engineers and doctors but also skilled workers because we are older society than, for example, India,” he said while launching ‘Excellence on Tour 2013’, a road-show by the German House for Research and Innovation (DWIH), New Delhi to showcase education opportunities for Indian students in Germany.

“India is a young society with millions and millions of students and young people who need to be trained and educated and who need jobs. The average age of Indian population is 25 years while in Germany, the average age is 35 years,” he said.

The ambassador pointed out that Germany with top universities and institutions for vocational training is well equipped to meet the requirements of Indian students. “India has what Germany needs and Germany has what India needs,” he said.

Addressing a huge gathering of students at Muffakham Jah College of Engineering and Technology, Steiner said when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently visited Germany, there was an understanding between the two countries that they should exploit the demographic advantages they have.

The ambassador disagreed that it is brain drain. “This is not brain drain. It is about brain circulation. It is about helping to build the brain,” he said.

To a question by a student whether in the event of a recession, Germany would look after the interests of its own people, the ambassador said the demand was huge in German economy.

“The incline in growth we have is on a very high level. Even if there is relative recession, even if we have a growth rate of two percent less, this would not change the fundamental picture.”

Explaining how Germany transformed its economy through structural reforms, he said it had the strength to shoulder the crisis in Europe and show solidarity with other countries.

He was confident that Europe would get out of the crisis in a year or two and emerge as a strong partner of India. He also predicted that India would end as one of the top economies of the world.

Steiner said what Europe was witnessing was not a Euro crisis but a debt crisis. He said the Euro zone countries took the revolutionary step of introducing common currency 12 years ago but they committed a mistake by not harmonizing their fiscal and economic policies.

“If you have a common currency you must have communal fiscal and economic policy. As we didn’t do that we had to pay the price and we landed up in the debt crisis.”

The eight-day road show is the first since the launch of DWIH in Delhi late last year.

DWIH is a one-stop shop for Indians who want to know about possibilities in education, science and research in Germany. It represents all major German organizations in areas of education, science, technology and innovation.

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