India might be the most populated country in the world, surpassing China. But is India ready to take the burden?
No one ever thought that the population of India can surpass China one day. It might be the reality now as many analysts estimate. But the problem is, more people need more space to live in and more jobs to maintain the economic growth of the country.
This anticipation started after the reveal that China’s population has been shrinking for the first time in 60 years.
Following an irreversible birthrate reduction that has been occurring steadily for years, China’s population has started to decline. According to the country’s officials, a COVID-era baby bust caused the predicted demographic drop in China to occur earlier than expected.
The declaration increases the chance that India has surpassed China being the world’s most populous country, another long-anticipated demographic upheaval.
The UN had expected that the milestone would be reached this year. According to WPR, India’s population had risen to 1.423 billion as of January 18.
The most recent figure for India is 1.428 billion, according to a different estimate from the research platform Macrotrends. After postponing population surveys due to pandemic disruptions in 2021, the country did not release its once-every-ten-year census statistics.
The proposal by the government to limit the length of service for troops in the Indian Armed Services to four years last year was an example of the pressure the government is under to both generate and fund jobs. By May 2024, when he is scheduled to run for reelection, Modi wants to increase manufacturing’s 14% part of the economy to 25%.
The World Population Review, a Nonprofit Organization specializing in census and demographics, calculated that the country of South Asia had 1.417 billion people by the end of 2022.
That’s a little more than 5 million more than the 1.412 billion people that China’s Government stated to have at the time it announced the first fall since the 1960s.
The fastest-growing major economy in the world is expected to be India, where half the population is under 30. Modi must generate jobs for the millions of people who enter the workforce each year as the country transitions away from farm work if he wants to maximize the demographic dividend.
There are worries that the country might lose out. This is because India is not producing enough jobs for the millions of Young People who are already joining the labor field each year.
Over 900 million people in South Asia are of working age, according to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for 2021. The Indian government predicts that this can surpass 1 billion during the next ten years.
Analysts stated that if policymakers do not create enough jobs, these figures could become a problem. An increasing part of Indians, according to research, are not even seeking jobs because there are few prospects and low pay.
According to World Bank data from 2021, India’s labor force Participation Rate, which measures active workers and job seekers, was 46%, one of the lowest in Asia. Comparatively, in the same year, the rates for China and the United States were 68% and 61%, respectively.
The statistics for women are comparatively more concerning. The World Bank statistics reveal that India’s female labor force Participation Rate was only 19% in 2021, down from roughly 26% in 2005.
According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), a Non-profit Organization with its headquarters in Mumbai that releases employment statistics, the country’s Unemployment Rate in December was 8.3%. At the end of the last year, the US Rate was roughly 3.5%.
Even though India had one of the fastest recoveries from Covid and the economy was developing notably but still about 800 million people rely on free food from the government which is the largest program of its kind in the world.
For India to reach its full economic potential, more non-farm jobs must be created. More than 45% of the Indian workforce is working in the agriculture industry, according to the latest official statistics.
One of the main causes of India’s unemployment crisis is a lack of high-quality education. Policymakers have demonstrated a “Huge Failure at the educational level,” according to Sripada, who noted that Indian educational institutions prioritize “rote learning” above “creative thinking.”
Thousands of college graduates, wind up applying for low-paying government jobs like “peons” or office boys because of this toxic combination of Inadequate Education and a shortage of employment. These jobs pay less than $300 per month.
The good news is that decision-makers have taken note of this issue and have begun to place “fair focus on skill creation now,” according to Sripada. The impact of new rules won’t be apparent for years, he noted.
According to a 2020 assessment by the McKinsey Global Institute, the country must develop at least 90 million new non-farm jobs by 2030 to accommodate new workers. According to analysts, a large number of these employees can be produced in the manufacturing and construction industries.
Asia’s third-largest economy generates 100% of its food. It produces wheat, sugar, and rice at a second-tier level. Additionally, it imports the most edible oils and uses the most sugar. In addition to being the second-largest consumer of steel and gold, India is the third-largest market for the purchase of crude oil around the world. There is the third-largest domestic aviation market in the world to be found as well.
WPR predicts that although India’s population growth has slowed, it will still climb until at least 2050.
China, meanwhile, is currently experiencing a little contraction, which Bloomberg Economist Eric Zhu called in his report on January 18 a “growth-crushing headwind for a long time.” According to information made public by the National Statistics Bureau, China’s population decreased by 850,000 in 2022 compared to the last year.
The UN predicts that just eight countries—the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Tanzania—will account for more than half of the expected rise in the world’s population between 2022 and 2050.
Chinese analysts estimated that the country’s population will reach its peak in 2033 at 1.5 billion people. The UN expected the switch wouldn’t take place until 2027 before the epidemic.
As China recorded a sharp reduction in new births during the pandemic, the UN advanced its expected date to 2023 when it presented updated forecasts last year. Due to the COVID restrictions’ interruptions and the unstable economy, families postponed having children.
Despite China’s harsh one-child policy being changed in 2021, the population of the country continued to drop. By preventing families from having more than one child, the policy, which was put into effect in 1980, attempted to lessen the social and economic repercussions of rapid population increase.
It was strictly enforced, and anyone who disobeyed was subject to fines. Beijing, meanwhile, is making an effort to increase its population right now by providing tax breaks, extended maternity leaves, and housing subsidies.
China’s National Health Commission advised the national and Provincial Governments to expand funding for childcare and reproductive health in August of last year. The state council of China declared that it is thinking about fresh initiatives to support flexible work schedules and the choice of working from home for parents.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma