Musings

Finally… some hope for India.


Government of India announced a policy document in the year 2000, called National Population Policy 2000, which hoped that by 2010 Total Fertility rate or TFR of the country (TFR measures average number of children born to a woman during her entire reproductive period) would be brought down to net replacement level or 2.1 children per woman.

The population data published in the year 2000 indeed looked very dismal. TFR for the country was still hopelessly high at 3.2. Every sixth person on the globe in that year was an Indian and by the turn of this century every fifth living person would be an Indian. India added about 1 Million persons to its population every fortnight and added one Australia every eight months. By 2045 or earlier, India would overtake China as the world’s most populous nation. Interestingly the data for the country showed great variations with just four states, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajsthan and Uttar Pradesh contributing as much as 49 percent of the increase in population

The census data from the year 2011 is now published and has brought to light many interesting facts, some are good for the future some not so good. The TFR is now pegged for whole of the country at 2.5 and is lower by 0.1 from the 2009 figures of 2.6.

The urban population has actually fallen even below replacement rate to 1.9, but rural population TFR remains still at 2.8 keeping the average for entire country at 2.5

If we look at the state-wise figures, it appears that 10 states have managed to bring the TFR down within last one year and are much below the replacement figure of 2.1. For Maharashtra TFR along with few other states has stagnated at 1.9.

The Good States

State

Year 2009

Year 2010

Jammu & Kashmir

2.2

2

Andhra Pradesh

1.9

1.8

Himachal Pradesh

1.9

1.8

Punjab

1.9

1.8

West Bengal

1.9

1.8

Delhi

1.9

1.8

Maharashtra

1.9

1.9

Karnataka

2

2

Tamil Nadu

1.7

1.7

Kerala

1.7

1.8

The Not so good states

State

Year 2009

Year2010

Bihar

3.9

3.7

Uttar Pradesh

3.7

3.5

Madhya Pradesh

3.3

3.2

Rajsthan

3.3

3.1

Jharkhand

3.2

3

Chhatisgarh

3

2.8

Assam

2.6

2.5

Gujrat

2.5

2.5

Haryana

2.5

2.3

Odisha

2.4

2.3

Though it is heartening to see the fact that states from north, which are always on lower rungs of development, also have managed to bring down the TFR, with Gujarat as the only exception, it is still a worry that these states still have a TFR, which is at a substantial higher value than the replacement figure.

Anaother worrisome or distressing fact emerges from this data. We are likely to see much higher level of migration from the northern states to the south, a fact which has proven to be a hot potato for the western states like Maharashtra.

Another fact highlighted by the sample report is the direct relationship of the literacy of a woman and number of children born to her.

Literacy level of mother and number of Children born

Education Level of mother

Number of children born

Illiterate

3.4

Literate

2.2

Standard 10 (Junior High school education)

1.9

Standard 12 (Senior High School education)

1.6

This finding is very interesting and proves that for the overall development of a country, a girl child’s education remains a paramount interest.

During last decade the TFR fell by 1.3 and the Government expects that it would fall below magic replacement number of 2.1 in another decade. India’s population is expected to stabilize at 1.65 Billion by 2060. It is now believed that India’s population will surpass China’s, assuming that China does not alter its current fertility policy. But India’s population will also be more youthful than China’s and will not face a budget-straining situation of population aging.

Whatever may happen in future, there is still hope for India.

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About chandrashekhara

I am a retired electronics engineer. I am interested in writing, reading books. Other hobbies include Paper models, wooden fret work and social networking.

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