The United Nations has recently released a report which projected India to overtake China as the most populous country in the world in eight years.
- The report, The World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights was published by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
- It provides a global view on population dynamics and demographic patterns.
- As per the projections, nine countries will have half of the world’s population growth between now and 2050. They are: India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Tanzania, Indonesia, the US and Pakistan. Among these, the US will see the least growth and India the highest.
- By 2050, the world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion and by 2100 it could become 11 billion.
- As per the projections, growth of population in China is slowing down while India is racing to become the most populous country.
- The report states that 27 countries have reduced their population size by 1 percent since 2010. This is due to sustained drop on fertility levels in these countries.
- The projections show that 55 countries or areas will see a reduction in their population size by 1 percent between 2019 and 2050. Of these, 26 countries may see 10 percent reduction.
- In China, the population will be reduced by 31.4 million or 2.2 per cent by 2050.
- The report noted that migration is playing a major role in changing population dynamics in some countries.
- As per the report, 14 countries or areas will see a net inflow of one million people between 2010 and 2020. At the same time, 10 countries will see net outflow of people in similar magnitude.
- Migrant outflows will be high in countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Venezuela, Syria and Philippines. This may be due to demand for migrant workers abroad or insecurity or violence or armed conflict in these countries.
- Inflows will be high for Russia, Belarus, Serbia, Ukraine, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Japan. Here, immigrants will offset population loss due to excess deaths over births.
Ticking Time Bomb
The population projections for India do not augur well for the country. It is a ticking time bomb that is ready to explode.
Scarce resources must be shared among the huge population. The economic inequality will increase further. It will further lead to rise in poverty.
With unpredictable monsoons, there will be severe scarcity for water. Already, there is a rise in unemployment in the country and population increase coupled with advancements in technology will further aggravate the problem.
The pressure on the infrastructure will be severe. Stress on the environment will be high. There will be huge burden on the medical infrastructure and quality healthcare becomes costly. The issue of migration within the country may lead to clashes. Overall, the economic and societal burden will be severe.
In terms of population control, states in Southern India fare better than Northern India. The high fertility states in the North must take immediate steps to control their population levels. They must take measures like spreading awareness, making birth control devices accessible, empowering women with their right to reproduce, providing education to all and generating employment opportunities. If not, the ramifications of an overgrown population will be disastrous.