Population growth rate declining due to education, social awareness: India’s foreign minister


India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Sunday that the country’s population growth rate is declining due to education, social awareness and prosperity.

At an event in Gujarat, where he launched the Gujarati translation of his book, ‘The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World’, he discussed India’s population and said, “The rate of growth of Indian population is falling. The reason is education, social awareness and prosperity. The family size among each one of us, with the passage of time, is small.”

Data suggests that since its Independence in 1947, India has witnessed a significant demographic change, that combined a population explosion after 1951 and also a decline in the total fertility rate.

In 2021, India’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) slipped below the replacement level of fertility (which is 2.1 children per woman) to 2.

“On the plus side,” Jaishankar said, “there have been improvements in various mortality indicators, but there also exist certain impediments to reaping the demographic dividend in terms of improving living standards, providing skill and training and generating employment.”

According to UN World Population Prospects (WPP) 2022, India will become the world’s most populous country by 2023, surpassing China, with a population of over 1.4 billion. India currently accounts for 17.5 per cent of the world’s population.

India’s population is projected to reach 1.5 billion by 2030 and 1.66 billion by 2050.

“… Forced population control can have very dangerous consequences, as it can create a gender imbalance,” said Jaishankar.