India has overtaken China as the world’s most populous country in a milestone that adds urgency for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to create more jobs and ensure the country sustains its world-beating growth. According to projections from the World Population Review (WPR), an independent organization focused on census and demographics, India’s population was 1.417 billion as of the end of 2022. That’s a little over 5 million more than the 1.412 billion declared by China on January 17, when there was the first decline since the 1960s, according to official announcements.
India, where half the population is under 30, is anticipated to have the world’s fastest-growing major economy. The milestone was supposed to be reached later this year, according to the UN. According to WPR, India’s population increased to 142.3 crores as of January 18. WPR predicts that, though India’s population growth has slowed, it will still climb until at least 2050.
The most recent figure for India is 142.8 crore, according to a different estimate from the research platform Macrotrends. After postponing population surveys due to pandemic disruptions in 2021, the nation did not release its once-every-ten-year census statistics.
The largest program of its kind in the world, free food rations are still used by around 80 crore people in India, despite the country’s relatively good recovery from the pandemic and its rapid economic expansion prior to COVID-19.
The third-largest economy in Asia is currently self-sufficient in food production. In terms of rice, wheat, and sugar production, it ranks second. While being the leading importer of edible oils, it is also the largest consumer of sugar. India is the third-largest market for the purchase of crude oil, and the second-largest consumer of steel and gold. In addition, it is the third-largest domestic aviation market in the world.
In his January 18 report, Bloomberg Economist Eric Zhu referred to the minor recession that China is currently experiencing as a “growth-crushing headwind for a long time”. According to information made public by the National Statistics Bureau, China’s population decreased by 8.5 lacks in 2022 compared to the previous year.
Another estimate by research platform Macrotrends puts the latest number for India at 1.428 billion. The country didn’t publish its once-in-a-decade census data in 2021, after deferring population surveys due to pandemic disruptions.
The government’s move last year to restrict the tenure of soldiers in India’s armed forces to four years illustrated the strain on the administration to create jobs and pay for retirement benefits. Modi, who is due to seek reelection by May 2024, has been pushing to improve the share of manufacturing in the economy to 25% from the current 14%.
“A broad-based growth agenda to drive jobs across sectors is essentially what is needed,” said Sonal Varma, an economist with Nomura Holdings Inc., noting that infrastructure projects and labor-intensive manufacturing can create those opportunities, in addition to services. “And we are seeing the early building blocks of that essentially being put in place.”
Despite India’s rapid economic growth pre-Covid and its relatively strong recovery from the pandemic, about 800 million people still rely on free food rations from the government, the most extensive program of its kind in the world.
For now, Asia’s third-largest economy is self-sufficient in food production. It is the second-largest producer of rice, wheat, and sugar. As a market, India, with its growing middle class, is the biggest consumer of sugar, while being the top importer of edible oils. It is the second-largest consumer of gold and steel and the third-biggest buyer of crude oil. It is also home to the world’s third-largest domestic aviation market.
Although India’s population growth has slowed, WPR expects the number to continue to rise until at least 2050.
China, on the other hand, is currently seeing a slight contraction, which Bloomberg Economist Eric Zhu described as a “growth-crushing headwind for a long time” in his Jan. 18 note. China’s population shrank by 850,000 in 2022 compared to a year ago, according to data released by the National Statistics Bureau.
The UN estimates that more than half of the projected increase in the global population between 2022 and 2050 to be concentrated in just eight countries: the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Tanzania.
How china controlled the population?
The one-child policy was a program in China that limited most Chinese families to one child each. It was implemented nationwide by the Chinese government in 1980, and it ended in 2016. The policy was enacted to address the growth rate of the country’s population, which the government viewed as being too rapid.
What is a one-child policy in China? how did it succeed?
The one-child policy in China was a population control policy implemented between 1979 and 2015. It limited the number of children that parents were allowed to have, with certain exceptions. The policy was implemented to curb China’s rapidly growing population and to promote economic development.
It succeed in slowing down the population growth rate, by reducing population growth and increasing the number of working-age adults, which helped to boost economic growth. However, the policy also had negative consequences, such as a gender imbalance due to a preference for male children, and an aging population due to the low fertility rate. The policy was officially abandoned in 2015 and replaced with a two-child policy.
What are the merits and demerits of the one-child policy?
The one-child policy in China had both merits and demerits.
Slowed down population growth: The policy helped to slow down China’s rapidly growing population, which was seen as a burden on economic development.
Increased economic growth: By reducing population growth and increasing the number of working-age adults, the policy helped to boost economic growth.
Reduced poverty: The policy helped to reduce poverty by allowing families to invest more resources in each child and giving parents more opportunities to work and earn income.
Gender imbalance: The policy led to a preference for male children, resulting in a significant gender imbalance in the population.
Aging population: The low fertility rate resulting from the policy has led to an aging population, which poses challenges for the country’s social security and pension systems.
Forced abortions and sterilizations: The policy was implemented through strict enforcement measures, including forced abortions and sterilizations, which led to human rights abuses.
The economic burden on families: The policy placed a significant economic burden on families, especially in rural areas, as they were required to pay heavy fines for having more than one child.
Negative impact on the family structure: The policy led to a decline in traditional family values and a change in the traditional family structure, which has negative consequences for society.
How did India’s population increase?
Birth rate and death rate are the two parameters used to measure the population growth of a country. Population growth is determined by the difference between the birth and the death rate.
so the reason for increasing India’s population is a decrease in the death rate due to improved medical facilities with the birth rate remaining the same is one of the major causes of population growth in India. Illiteracy prevalent in major parts of India makes people believe that ‘children are god’s blessings’ hence making them against the concept of ‘family planning’.People of India follow different religions of which some of which do not advocate the concept of ‘family planning’.
As most families in rural areas are below the poverty line, they think having a large family will increase their source of income by sending children to work.
Decrease in infant mortality rate due to improved medical facilities.
Many Indian families are superstitious about the fact that ‘children are a sign of prosperity’.
Indian families believe that a male child is responsible to continue one’s lineage and the constant attempt to have a male child result in the number of female children.
Industrialization and the growth of opportunities in urban areas have increased the urban population.
The average life span of people has increased due to the control of epidemics by immunization programs.
In rural areas, children are considered a source of recreation, hence giving birth to more children is a practice in rural areas.
Why India Needs Population Control Bill?
The two main causes leading to over population in India are:
The birth rate is still higher than the death rate. We have been successful in declining the death rates but the same cannot be said for birth rates.
The fertility rate due to population policies and other measures has been falling but even then it is much higher compared to other countries.
The above causes are interrelated to the various social issues in our country which are leading to overpopulation.
Early Marriage and Universal Marriage System: Even though legally the marriageable age of a girl is 18 years, the concept of early marriage still prevails in many sections of society, and getting married at a young age prolongs the childbearing age. Also, in India, marriage is a sacred obligation and a universal practice, where almost every woman is married at the reproductive age.
Poverty and Illiteracy: Another factor for the rapid growth of the population in poverty. Impoverished families have this notion that more the members in the family, the more will be the numbers to earn income. Some feel that more children are needed to look after them in their old age. Also, hunger can be a cause of death of their children and hence the need for more children. Strange but true, Indians still lag behind when it comes to the use of contraceptives and birth control methods. Many of them are not willing to discuss them or are totally unaware of them. Illiteracy is thus another cause of overpopulation
Age-old cultural norm: Sons are the bread earners of families in India. This age-old thought puts considerable pressure on the parents to have children until a male child is born.
Illegal migration: Last but not the least, we cannot ignore the fact that illegal migration is continuously taking place from Bangladesh, Nepal, and Myanmar adding to increased population density.
Effects of Over Population?
Even after 75 years of independence, the structure of our country is not stable, due to overpopulation. Some major impacts of the high population are as follows:
Unemployment: Generating employment for a huge population in a country like India is very difficult. The number of illiterate persons increases every year. The unemployment rate is thus showing an increasing trend. Adding to these vows was the COVID-19 pandemic which pushed millions onto the brink of poverty and unemployment.
Manpower utilization: The number of jobless individuals is on the rise in India due to economic depression, slow business development, and expansion activities.
Pressure on infrastructure: The development of infrastructural facilities is unfortunately not keeping pace with the growth of the population. The result is a lack of transportation, communication, housing, education, healthcare, etc. There has been an increase in the number of slums, overcrowded houses, traffic congestion, etc.
Resource utilization: Land areas, water resources, and forests are over-exploited. The growing population could pose a threat to the already existing ecosystem, as the number increases consumption increases which puts stress on natural resources and could lead to a shortage of water and food.
Decreased production and increased costs: Food production and distribution have not been able to catch up with the increasing population and hence the costs of production have increased. Inflation is the major consequence of overpopulation.
Inequitable income distribution: In the face of an increasing population, there is an unequal distribution of income, and inequalities within the country widen. Due to the excessive number of individuals, the job is not valued appropriately which could significantly bring down the value of the skills.
Steps to Control Population in India.
The Government of India, policy-makers should initiate a bold population policy so that the economic growth of the country can keep pace with the demands of a growing population. Major steps have been already implemented but still, need to be emphasized more control the population. A few steps need to be taken in order to bring the population under control:
Increasing welfare and status of women- In many sections of our society, women are still treated as second-class citizens. They are not allowed to pursue education and hence spend their life doing household work. However, instead confining women to house duties and letting them study can prove to be beneficial as it could add to the growing status of the women plus an additional source of income.
Spreading of education– Illiteracy is one of the key reasons as mentioned above, the government is taking numerous steps for both adults and children to pursue their education for free from a government institution, this can lead to exceptional growth in the country’s literacy rate and inspire more individuals to come forward to learn and understand the consequences of Overpopulation.
Increasing awareness for the use of contraceptives- Talking about contraceptives is still Taboo in various parts of our society. There should be camps that need to be organized to make men and women aware of contraceptives.
Family planning- Family planning is one of another few steps helping towards controlling the population. Good family planning can bring stability to an individual’s life.
Encouraging male sterilization- Sterilization is an extremely effective way of controlling birth control and one can engage with their partners without worrying.
Free distribution of contraceptives and condoms among the poor- Due to hesitation among the poor regarding contraceptives. The government and Hospitals should come together to organize camps to distribute as well as make people aware of contraceptives and their benefits.
Increase the number of health care centers for the poor- The Government should also focus on increasing free health care centers so that individuals can get themselves tested and sterilized if needed.
India’s strengths in the global world in various fields cannot be ignored, whether in science & technology, medicine, and health care, business and industry, military, communication, entertainment, literature, and many more. Experts are hopeful that by increasing public awareness and enlisting strict population control norms by the Government will definitely lead the way for the country’s economic prosperity and control of the population.