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India’s population to overtake China’s by 2022

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New Delhi: India will overtake China as the world’s most populous nation by 2022, says a new UN report that revises its previous estimates, which had put the date around 2028.

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In 2015, India had 1.311 billion people, according to the UN’s new estimates, against China’s 1.376 billion, a difference of 65 million.

If the new projections hold good, India will continue to be far more densely populated than China. India’s population density is already more than double that of China’s, which has 141 people per square km against India’s 382 people per square km.

How the date moved from 2050 to 2022

India’s population ascendancy was first estimated to take place in 2050, then gradually lowered to 2040 and then 2030, said Prof Siva Raju, Chair of the Centre for Population, Health and Development at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai.

But the UN’s projections have changed, with China’s population growth rate decelerating much faster than India’s, which explains why India will top the world’s list in 2022.

The two giants, China and India, now have 19 percent and 18 percent of the world’s population, states the UN report released on July 29.

China’s fertility rates – the average number of children a woman can be expected to bear during her lifetime – have dropped much lower than India’s, which is why its population is growing less than India’s.

Overall, India had seen an appreciable decline in its fertility over the years to 2.48 from 5.9 in 1951, though that process was faster in China, which had a fertility rate of 6.11 in 1951. India’s higher fertility contributed to the higher population growth.

Lastly, the population growth of China in recent years was mainly due to “population momentum” (the population’s total fertility has fallen below the replacement level since the early 1990s) and this will also contribute to the population growth in India for the coming decades.

Over the last decade, from 2001-2011, India’s population grew at only 1.64 percent per year against 1.96 percent in previous decade.

Government’s estimates overwhelmed or are they?

In May, Health Minister J.P. Nadda told the Rajya Sabha that India’s population would cross China’s by 2028. He cited the UN’s 2012 Revision.

However, he defended the government’s population control measures, which lowered the decadal growth rate from 21.54 percent for 1991-2000 to 17.64 percent during 2001-11.

Some experts believe that the UN’s revised estimates are just projections, which may or may not materialize. India’s population will certainly overtake that of China’s, but the exact year could vary.

The revised estimates are a revision based on actual growth, which is different from the growth projected earlier, according to Sona Sharma, Joint Director, Advocacy & Communications of the Population Foundation of India, a Delhi-based non-governmental research group.

India wasn’t growing faster than imagined; its decadal growth rate had declined, she observed.

India’s bulge was also due to its huge population of young people in the reproductive age, which contributed to its population momentum.

China’s was a hugely mixed story, Sharma believed. It had developed at the grassroots since the 1970s by investing in education and health, unlike India.

Its fertility rates began to decline even before the imposition of the one-child policy. Most in India would find this policy undemocratic in that it deprives a family of taking its own decisions about having more than one child.

However, India’s family planning program – one of the first and biggest in the world, when launched in the 1950s – suffered a setback during the forced sterilization of women and men during the national emergency between 1975 and 1977, the 40th anniversary of which was observed in June.

The real lesson lies in social progress – Kerala shows the way

The real lesson of the discrepancy between China and India lay in the former’s better social progress indicators across all fronts, as the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Reports indicate year after year, said Sharma.

Kerala and Sri Lanka have proved exceptions in that they reached the replacement level of 2.1 (children born to a woman) even before China. All the southern states, except Karnataka, are on the same path, as IndiaSpend previously reported.

As we can see, the population in the southern states is stabilizing, even falling below replacement levels. It is the northern states, primarily, with their still-high fertility rates –although these have dropped –that continue to boost India’s population.

The world’s population projections are important because they have been released at a time when the UN’s Millennium Goals, the deadline for which was this year, are being replaced this year by the much more ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, all of which are measured by the population reached.

(IANS/IndiaSpend)

Next Story

India Says Pakistan’s Links with Pulwama Attack Clear For All to See

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits

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Arun Jaitley
"The most favoured nation status which has been granted to Pakistan stands withdrawn.", says Jaitley. Pixabay

India has rejected Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua’s claims denying her country’s links to the Pulwama terror attack, saying that JeM, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday, is based in Pakistan, and the “links are clear and evident and for all to see”.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson on Friday termed as “preposterous” the demand for an investigation, saying there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

The spokesperson said India has not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on bilateral relations and it has been sheltering terrorists and terror organisations such as JeM. He said Islamabad has not taken any action against such groups despite international demands.

India also demanded that Pakistan take immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control to create a conducive atmosphere in the region free of terror.

The spokesperson’s response came over Pakistan Foreign Secretary’s briefing rejecting Pakistan’s involvement in the terror attack on a paramilitary convoy in Jammu and Kashmir that killed at least 45 troopers. Janjua met envoys of P-5 countries late on Friday.

The spokesperson said JeM has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the attack was a matter of “grave concern” and it had been condemning “heightened acts of violence in the (Kashmir) Valley”. Pixabay

“The organisation and its leadership are located in Pakistan. LeT and other terror groups have welcomed the news of the attack. These groups are also based in Pakistan. Pakistan cannot claim that it is unaware of their presence and their activities.

“They have not taken any action against these groups despite international demands, especially against groups and individuals proscribed by the UN and other countries. The links to Pakistan are clear and evident for all to see. Its own Ministers have shared the same podium with UN proscribed terrorists,” the spokesperson said.

He said there was audio-visual material linking JeM to the terror attack.

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“The demand for an investigation is preposterous when there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the JeM. There are also other audio-visual and print material linking JeM to the terrorist attack. We have therefore no doubt that the claim is firmly established,” the spokesperson said.

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits.

“We have not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on relations with India. What we have noticed however, are claims to offer dialogue on the one hand, while sponsoring and sheltering terrorists and terrorist organisations such as JeM on the other,” the spokesperson added. (IANS)