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India’s demographic journey UPSC NOTE

 July 11 - World Population Day 

  • Three components, namely fertility, mortality, and migration, play a pivotal role in shaping India’s demographic landscape. 

  • India has made significant strides in reducing its fertility. 

  • According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5, India’s total fertility rate (TFR) decreased from 3.4 to 2 between 1992 and 2021, dropping below the replacement level of 2.1. 

  • There has been a significant drop in the mortality rate as well. 

  • The average life expectancy of Indians has also increased over time. 

  • With this, India is experiencing a demographic shift, towards an ageing population

  • According to the 2011 Census, individuals aged 60 years and above constituted 8.6% of the total population. 

  • India’s population dynamics is intertwined with its ‘development’ scenario. 

  • The reduction in fertility signifies a transition toward smaller family norms. 

  • This can reduce the proportion of the dependent population and result in a demographic dividend — a period where the working-age population is larger than the dependent population. 

  • India can harness the potential of its young workforce by creating employment

  • The decline in mortality and increase in life expectancy are reflections of a robust health-care system and increased living standards

  • The issue of population ageing, however, requires a long-term plan — focusing on geriatric care and providing social security benefits. 

  • Migration and urbanisation are also critical issues. 

  • Rapid rural to urban migration is posing a threat to the existing urban infrastructure. 

  • Among all these, gender equality also finds an important place. 

  • Women labour force participation, which is straggling, their notable absence from political representation and their unending plight within society are the silent issues which can sabotage India’s path to 2030, the journey to achieve SDGs.

Aligning with SDG’s

  • ‘No Poverty, Zero Hunger and Good Health’ are the three most important SDGs which form the core of ‘development’. 

  • India’s journey from the brink of a demographic disaster to striving towards the 2030 goal of ‘leaving no one behind’ has seen a couple of hits and misses.

  • India made great leaps towards the goal of eradicating poverty

  • The proportion of the population living below the poverty line reduced from 48% to 10% between 1990 and 2019. 

  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) that came into effect in 2006 played a critical role in addressing rural poverty

  • With the Green Revolution, India became self-sufficient in crop production and averted a catastrophe. 

  • The proportion of the population suffering from hunger reduced from 18.3% in 2001 to 16.6% in 2021

  • However, India’s nutrition picture is not completely rosy. 

  • India contributes a third of the global burden of malnutrition

  • Though the Indian government launched the Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for. Holistic Nourishment (POSHAN) Abhiyaan in 2018, it will still require a miracle to fulfil the target of ‘Zero Hunger’ by 2030

  • Health is one sector in India where progress made has been remarkable. 

  • All the critical mortality indicators have seen steady declines. 

  • The Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) decreased from 384.4 in 2000 to 102.7 in 2020. 

  • The mortality rate for children under five reduced significantly post 2000s. 

  • The infant mortality rate also reduced from 66.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 25.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2021

  • Despite these achievements, India’s road towards 2030 is not easy. 

  • According to Oxfam, the top 10% of India’s population holds 77% of the national wealth

  • If the fruits of development are not equitably distributed and if development does not percolate to the poorest of the poor and the wealth scenario remains so skewed as it is now, ‘sustainable development’ can never be achieved in its truest sense

Way forward

  • For India to achieve the SDGs, the changing population dynamics has to be acknowledged while forming policies. 

  • India needs to address income inequality, harness its demographic dividend by creating job opportunities for the youth of India and address changing health needs. 

  • non-communicable diseases (NCD), which incur high out-of-pocket expenditures, are catastrophic for some families. 

  • India needs a stronger safety net to save these families from slipping into utter poverty. 

  • The nutrition scenario should be set right by strengthening programmes. 

  • This will require an increase in budgetary allocation for the health and nutrition sectors

  • Another, but often missed, paradigm of this entire development discussion is gender equality. 

  • A gender equal approach and empowerment of vulnerable women can solve most issues and propel India’s progress in the SDGs

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: India’s demographic journey UPSC NOTE
India’s demographic journey UPSC NOTE
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