• Vedant Kanade

India & Population: Investment Perspective

At the time of Independence, the population of India was about 350 million which rose to approximately 1365 million by the end of 2019. By the end of 2030, India will be the most populous country in the world.

The population is likely to peak in the year 2048 at 1.6 billion and then decline to 1.03 billion by the year 2100. (Lancet 2020) Currently India has population growth rate about 1% and fertility rate about 2.2.

Population division in India

Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India with a population of about 238 million, which is equivalent to our neighbour Pakistan’s population. If UP was a separate country then it would be the 5th populous country in the world. UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, West Bengal & Madhya Pradesh are the top 5 states in population chart respectively. Out of these top 4 states have more than 100 million population.

The total fertility rate(TFR) of most Indian states have reached replacement level and but few states which have higher TFR are UP, Bihar Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan. In the map darker the pink shade higher TFR rate. And all these high TFR states contribute about 43% of India’s population.

The southern states are already below replacement level and collectively these 7 states contribute 25% of the Indian population. The top 2 populous states UP & Bihar have 2.9, 3.2 TFR respectively and contribute 25% of the population.

The possible social ingredients required to have a sustainable population is education (especially woman in 15-59 age group), health awareness for family planning. Delaying the time for the woman to have child impacts the overall children she will bear in her lifetime. So it is important to delay the marriage age of girl from say 19 to 24 & education plays a key role in this process. The median age of marriage for a woman is 19.2 in 2011 (18.2 in 2001).

Age-specific fertility rates refer to the number of children born to women in a particular age group per 1000 women in that age group.

Most of the social scientist believe the educated woman is key to the sustainable development of any society. The literate and informed woman in society not only contributes more to income but also overall societal behavior. 2011 census is the elaborate and more revealing document which sadly got any attention from media and commentators. As per census 2011, overall basic literacy has improved across the board. But look at the female literacy growth in rural as well as urban India.

The jump of 12% is encouraging sign and hopefully, in the last 10 years, it has grown more. This can also be seen in enrollment of female in higher education numbers which increased from 39% to 46% during the 2007-2014 period.

In conclusion to this, I think investment in education & health and efforts in ensuring they reach to everyone. Economic growth is not sufficient but socio-economic growth is of utmost importance and that can only be achieved with educated and informed society. This will help us control the population and allocated & utilize available resources with maximum efficiency.