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India going towards depopulation (Specials)

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    3rd Dec, 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 the 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.

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.
  • Approximately 17.85% of the world's population are Indians, which means 1 in every 6 people on Earth lives in India.

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.
  • India’s population is expected to grow for another 40 years.
  • United Nations estimates: India’s population will begin to decline only in 2063.
  • The overall growth rate of India’s population will remain stagnant in the upcoming decades. The evidences 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 number of children.

Factors contributing to Overpopulation:

  • The Decline in the Death Rate: At the root of overpopulation is the difference between the overall birth rate and death rate in populations.
  • Agricultural Advancements: Agricultural advancements in the 20th century have allowed humans to increase food production using fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides and yields further.
  • Better Medical Facilities: Illnesses that had claimed thousands of lives until now were cured because of the invention of vaccines. Combining the increase in food supply with fewer means of mortality tipped the balance and became the starting point of overpopulation.
  • More Hands to Overcome Poverty: Poverty is considered as the leading cause of overpopulation. In the absence of educational resources, coupled with high death rates, which resulted in higher birth rates, is why impoverished areas are seeing large booms in population.
  • Child Labour: The children being seen as a source of income by impoverished families begin work too young and also lose the educational opportunities reflected, particularly when it comes to birth control.
  • Technological Advancement in Fertility Treatment: Today there are effective medicines that can increase the chance of conception and lead to a rise in the birth rate. Moreover, due to modern techniques, pregnancies today are far safer.
  • Immigration: Many people prefer to move to developed countries like the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, where the best facilities are available in terms of medical, education, security, and employment. The result is that those people settle over there, eventually making those places overcrowded.
  • Lack of Family Planning: Most developing nations have a large number of illiterate people, live below the poverty line, and have little or no knowledge about family planning. Besides, getting their children married at an early age increases the chances of producing more kids.
  • Poor Contraceptives Use: A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that women aged between 16 and 49 used at least one form of contraceptive is 43% in underdeveloped countries, which leads to higher birth rates.

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.
    • The latest round of the NFHS shows that, 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.
    • It will mean that workers from the southern States are not automatically replaceable.
  • Seeing Population through a communal lens: Sharp anti-Muslim tone in the conversation has remained even though fertility between Hindus and Muslims is converging.
  • Increase in the elderly population: Societal aging can affect economic growth, patterns of work and retirement, the way that families function.
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