India's population increases by 181 million in ten years

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

India's 2011 census reports that its population has increased by 181 million in the span of one decade, a figure 17.6 percent greater than 2001. The census results, publicised today, show the population of India now stands at 1.21 billion. C. Chandramauli, the commissioner of the census, said India's population represents "over 17 percent of the world population, [while] India is 2.4 percent of the world’s surface area."

According to BBC News Online, the current population of the country is in excess of the populations of Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Brazil and the United States put together. While India's population has increased by more than 17 percent since the 2001 census, this growth rate is the lowest since India achieved independence in 1947. Between 1991 and 2011, the population growth rate has steadily decreased. Approximately 25 percent of Indians over the age of seven were found to be illiterate in the 2011 census, a decrease of 10 percent from the census held ten years ago. The increase in literate females is greater than that of males, the new census reports.

The findings have suggested a preference of male over female children. For every one thousand boys below the age of seven, there were 914 girls, a decrease from the 2001 census, which reported 927 female for every one thousand male children. Chandramauli called this discovery "a matter of grave concern. This is the lowest ever in the demographic history of the country," he said, and noted "[t]he last census in 2001 had warned us about this, the tendency has worsened." This pattern continues although the Indian government has prohibited hospitals from disclosing the gender of an unborn child.

According to The Washington Post, parents in much of India abort female fetuses and murder young female children for financial reasons. Incidents like this occur more frequently in the better educated and the richer Indian states, including Punjab and Gujarat. G.K. Pillai, the home secretary, has claimed that "[w]hatever policy measures we have been following in the last 40 years will need a complete review now. They have not been effective".

There are now 940 female adults for every one thousand men, in contrast to 2001, when there were 933 women per thousand males. However, in the capital, Delhi, only 866 females were counted for every one thousand males.

Throughout the states of India, the population growth rate varies significantly. This results in an inequality in the allocation of funds and is a problem, experts say. According to Management Institute of Population and Development consultant Devendra Kothari: "Our federal government sends funds to the states according to their population. This means that the states that have worked harder to reduce their population growth get less money from New Delhi". Kothari continued: "The states with lesser population send fewer members to the Indian parliament. Their financial and political clout will go down."

Over the course of the approaching year, concluding census figures will be publicised, according to officials.


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