In­dia’s ‘Pop­u­la­tion Ex­plo­sion’?

India Today - - UPFRONT -

In his In­de­pen­dence Day ad­dress, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi warned against the “pop­u­la­tion ex­plo­sion” that was hold­ing back In­dia’s de­vel­op­ment. While it’s true that In­dia is still in a phase of pop­u­la­tion growth, that phe­nom­e­non is heav­ily concentrat­ed in states like Ut­tar Pradesh, Bi­har and Ra­jasthan; over­all, In­dian pop­u­la­tion growth ap­pears to have sta­bilised, with a no­tice­able down­trend to­wards the re­place­ment rate (the num­ber at which the pop­u­la­tion nei­ther grows nor di­min­ishes) of 2.1. In fact, most of South In­dia now has low, Euro­pean-level birth rates. Thanks largely to the North, by 2027, In­dia is ex­pected to over­take China as the world’s most pop­u­lous na­tion. In­dia cur­rently has a high work­ing-age pop­u­la­tion, but, by 2050, a pro­jected slow­down in fer­til­ity rates is seen cre­at­ing a very large pop­u­la­tion of over-60s, a sig­nif­i­cant bur­den should In­dia re­main a mid­dle-in­come coun­try.


In­dia’s pop­u­la­tion (1.37 bil­lion), as of Au­gust 27, 2019, as per es­ti­mates by the United Na­tions. (About 17.7% of the global pop­u­la­tion.) Fer­til­ity rate: 2.36; re­place­ment rate: 2.1


In­crease in pop­u­la­tion be­tween 2018 and 2019. An an­nual change of 1%, com­pared to 1.2% in 2015, 1.9% in 2000 and 2.3% in 1985


In­dian states and union ter­ri­to­ries had fer­til­ity rates below 2.1 in 2016, says the gov­ern­ment. Sikkim: 1.2; Pun­jab, West Ben­gal:

1.6; Tamil Nadu, Delhi: 1.7; Ker­ala, Ma­ha­rash­tra: 1.8


The num­ber of years In­dia will en­joy a de­mo­graphic div­i­dend—a larger work­ing-age pop­u­la­tion (15 to 64) than de­pen­dants (below 15, above 65)— from 2018 to 2055


The per­cent­age of In­dia’s pop­u­la­tion ex­pected to be over the age of 60 by 2050. Up from 8% in 2015. Will rise to over 33% by 2011, says a UN re­port


The likely pop­u­la­tion growth, 2000-2050. But over-60s will grow by 326%, over-80s by 700%. To cope, In­dia must be­come a de­vel­oped econ­omy by 2030 says an SBI re­port


Bi­har’s fer­til­ity rate in 2016, the high­est in In­dia, says the gov­ern­ment. Ut­tar Pradesh (3.1); Ra­jasthan, Mad­hya Pradesh (2.7); Jhark­hand (2.6); Ch­hat­tis­garh (2.5); Gu­jarat (2.2)

Il­lus­tra­tion by TANMOY CHAKRABORT­Y

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