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India going towards depopulation

  • Published
    28th Nov, 2022
Context

As the World Population has reached 8 billion, India’s contribution is considered to be significant. But, the numbers estimated for India outpaced the emerging challenges of depopulating country's young ones without any preparedness against it.

About

India’s Population estimates Paradox:

  • India is the second most populous country with over 1.35 billion people.
  • Approximately 17.85% of the world's population are Indians, which means 1 in every 6 people on Earth lives in India.

Expected growth/decline

  • Growth: India’s population is expected to grow by 25%, with reference to 2011, to 1.52 billion by 2036.
  • Decline: India’s population growth rate is expected to decline to its lowest since its Independence in the 2011-2021 decade, with a decadal growth rate of 12.5%.
  • By current United Nations estimates, India’s population will begin to decline only in 2063, by which time it will be just shy of 1.7 billion with the world’s population expected to grow until 2086.
  • China: China’s population has begun to decline, while India’s population is expected to grow for another 40 years.

Is India’s Population really increasing?

  • Yes, India’s population is increasing with the world accordingly; however, there is an element of skewed growth within the nation.
  • The overall growth rate of India’s population will remain stagnant in the upcoming decades. The evidence can be drawn from:
  • A Replacement fertility rate of 2.1 has been achieved for most of the States in India.
  • Emerging Health challenges and Pandemics.
  • Awareness and Family planning Technique
  • Gender-equal norms are prevalent as a sign of social transformation.
  • Lack of affordability among most middle-income families for more children.

Should India focus on Population control policies?

  • More than the Population control policies, there is a need for the government to prepare for fewer population challenges as seen in most of the developed countries like Europe, the US, and Japan.

Emerging Issues:

A depopulating future poses at least three unique challenges to India:

  • First, a skewed sex ratio remains a danger.
  • As the latest round of the NFHS showed, families with at least one son are less likely to want more children than families with just one daughter.
  • The stark differences between northern and southern States in terms of basic literacy as well as enrolment in higher education, including in technical fields, will mean that workers from the southern States are not automatically replaceable.
  • The Population policies are being seen through a communal lens.

Areas to be focused on for Sustainable development:

  • Social security and universal health: Increasing rate of the old age population will demand a better welfare system along with social security and universal health care facility.

According to the National Commission on Population, the share of the elderly in India’s population, close to 9% in 2011, is growing fast and may reach 18% by 2036. If India is to ensure a decent quality of life for the elderly in the near future, planning and providing for it must begin today.

  • Demographic liability
  • Resource allocation and Achieving SDGs
  • Poverty and quality of life
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