The Herman Trend Alert|
April 27, 2011
India and its Potential
Not long ago, the Indian government announced the results of its USD$490 million investment to conduct a census. At 1.21 billion, India's people now represent 17 percent of the world's population. That is more than the populations of the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, and Bangladesh combined. The increase between 2001 and 2011 was 181 million, roughly equivalent to the entire population of Brazil.
In fact, by 2030, experts had expected India to overtake China as the world's most populous nation. However, figures show its growth rate is falling (slower than at any time since 1947) and China has 1.3 billion people.
The census also revealed a most disturbing societal issue---a continuing preference for boys. Actually, India's sex ratio (female to male) is at its worst level since its independence in 1947. Although sex-selective abortion based on ultrasound scans is illegal in India, it remains common; with limited resources to feed children, families think of sons as future wage earners. Statistics show fewer girls than boys are being born or surviving.
According to the 2011 census, 914 girls were born for every 1,000 boys under the age of six, compared with 927 for every 1,000 boys in the census ten years earlier. This gender imbalance has had far-reaching consequences for China, where the gap is even greater. There, wealthier families are "buying" brides from other countries for their young men. India may not be far behind.
Though India's Census Commissioner C Chandramauli cited this issue as "a matter of grave concern", it is doubtful that policy enforcement will change soon. On the education front, the census shared good news: the literacy rate went up to 74 percent from about 65 percent in the last count. (According to the CIA World Factbook, the US literacy rate is now 85.4 percent---on par with Brazil, Libya and Iran!)
India's growing population and its dedication to education have already made it a force to be reckoned with on the world stage. With increasing numbers of middle class citizens and millionaires, India will have the resources and the will to give the US and other countries "a run for their money".
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