As India overtakes China as the most populous country in the world, should we consider this a good trophy for the nation? Population explosion has implications. There are implications for the health care system. There are implications for the environment. There are implications for food security. There are implications for the existing infrastructure. There are implications for the labour market. There are implications for the cost of living. The list goes on and on.
We are yet to know how the nation plans to navigate its muddy waters – poverty, overcrowding, poor sanitation, lack of some basic amenities at different quarters, wailing healthcare issues, etc., in the wake of this ‘feat’.
Should we be happy for India or caution them to watch their steps? Why didn’t China maintain first place? Is there repercussions China foresaw and retreated that India couldn’t, see? Why did India gallop towards this new world record? Now that it is there, I hope Africa will not edge towards inadvertently trying to keep in step with the ‘big wigs’ in the population explosion ‘business’.
65% of India’s now over 1.4 billion people population is under 45 years – this means more younger persons are still within the productive age bracket. This spells ‘h-o-p-e’ for the country despite the population surge if the government takes advantage of that demographic strength. The government may generously support the innovative initiatives of young entrepreneurs and Civil Society Organisations in the country, improve budgetary allocation to key sectors of the economy, improve infrastructure throughout the country, encourage local poverty eradication and health promotion initiatives, attract foreign investments, and diversify revenues. The aftermath of this surge may be beautiful in the coming years if the government does these. What remains to be seen is if the will of governance is strong enough to pursue this uncommon path to national prosperity.