Question:- 124. According to statistics, India will surpass China as the most populous country of the world by 2023. Does India need an updated and restrictive population policy? Express you views in this regard. Answer in 250 words.
Nov 25, 2022


With 1.4 billion people, India accounts for approximately 17.5 per cent of the world’s population, one in every six people on the planet lives in India. According to the United Nations’ World Population Prospects (WPP) 2022, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country in 2023. India is currently in a demographic transition, with a sizable proportion of the youth population.


BODY PARAGRAPH-1  (Explain the implications + Take a stand)

Rapid population growth makes eradicating poverty, combating hunger and malnutrition, and increasing the coverage of health and education systems difficult. It challenges sustainable economic growth, social development, and environmental protection. India was one of the first countries to introduce an official programme of birth control intended to reduce the rate of population growth, but to this day the relative population size remains an issue.


Looking at the statistics, it appears that India is in dire need of an updated population policy. However, experts agree that at this juncture there is no requirement of a restrictive population control bill or any policy that enforces a fixed number of children a couple can have. This is because the goals of the latest population policy, NPP 2000, have been achieved. The following points justify the argument:


BODY PARAGRAPH-2 (Justify your stand)


  1. 1. As per National Family Health Survey-5, India’s overall fertility fell below the replacement level of two children per woman, (TFR below 2.1).
  2. 2. According to a report by Ministry of Statistics in 2018, the number of citizens over the age of 60 jumped 35.5% from 7.6 crore in 2001 to 10.3 crore in 2011. In this context, active focus on population control will prove to be counter- productive for the economy in the long run.
  3. 3. Small family norms create a high preference for male children which impacts child sex ratio- something India cannot go back upon.
  4. 4. Restrictions in form of stopping all government aid and subsidies to the family with more than prescribed number of child have great social costs.
  5. 5. Restrictive policies have a bearing on reproductive rights of women. It would lead to increased cases of women abuse. Many women would be subjected to forced sterilizations or abortions.


BODY PARAGRAPH-3 (Still, some steps are needed)

While the need of an entirely restrictive population policy is low, there are some changes required with regards to the population scenario:

  1. 1.There is a need to change the discourse of population policy from population control to ensure that demographic dividend is reaped.
  2. 2.Focus on management of ageing population is required as the population over the age of 60 is projected to increase from 8 per cent to nearly 20 per cent in 2050.
  3. 3.The variations in the demographic composition of the states needs to be taken into account. National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16) reveals that women who have little access to health and education and those caught in a cycle of poverty, produce more and more children. Also the states with high population growth are also the ones with the lowest per capita availability of hospital beds.



The Union government and states with a higher TFR, should focus on overall social development instead of coercive population control measures. They should provide an enabling environment in which couples voluntarily opt for, and feel safe about, limiting their family size.

India’s population comes with advantages and disadvantages both. It’s highly imperative that we work upon economic planning that ensures skilled workforce, good jobs, agricultural productivity etc. Generating more employment opportunities in various parts of the country is important to avoid pressure on resources in just few mega cities that migration brings along with it.