According to the Indian census (last carried out in 2011), the population of India was exactly 1,210,193,422. Currently, the second-most populous country of the world after China, India, is expected to overtake China by 2027 (just seven years from now), as per the United Nations (UN) World Population report released in June last year. Well, this is certainly coming true. With an estimated 67,385 babies born in India on January 1, our country constitutes 17% of the total number of births across the world on the first day of the New Year.
"As the calendar flips each January, we are reminded of all the possibility and potential of each child embarking on her or his life’s journey - if they are just given that chance," said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF, executive director, in a formal release issued by the organisation. The UN agency also stated that the estimates for the number of babies born on January 1, 2020, are drawn out of the latest revision of the UN’s World Population Prospects (2019). The World Data Lab's (WDL) in turn, build on these datasets to constitute an estimation for each day per country.
Apart from India, there are seven other countries that account for a minimum of 50% of total global births. Others on this list are: China (46,299), Nigeria (26,039), Pakistan (6,787), Indonesia (13,020), the United States (10,452), Democratic Republic of Congo (10,247) and Ethiopia (8,493).
Speaking about childbirths, it is also important to know how many of these babies who are born, are able to survive. In 2018, about 83 lakh newborns died on the first day of life and about 2.5 million newborns died in just the first month. Most of them succumbed to preventable causes such as premature birth, infections and other related complications during delivery, an additional 2.5 million babies are born dead every year.
In India alone, child mortality is a huge public health concern. According to data released by government, about 0.76 million babies die in the neonatal period, and nearly 3.5 million babies are born premature, which lowers their chances of survival. Child nutrition, therefore, is immensely important. "Over the past 27 years that have been analysed as part of the study, there has been a two-third decline in child mortality rate and what is attributed to malnutrition, but it is still a leading cause of mortality in children, highlighting the fact that a lot more needs to be done," says Dr Lalit Dandona, distinguished scientist and national chair of population health at Council of Medical Research.
The exploding population, however, needs to be stabilised. Despite numerous population policies, family planning and welfare programmes undertaken by the Govt of India, there is a pressing need to control this explosion to avoid conflicts over water, energy, food, open space and a lot more!
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