Can soaring population give India an edge over China?

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on September 19, 2006

India’s population is exploding and is likely to surpass China as the world’s biggest within a few decades. In a country where more than 25% of the people live in poverty, is that a good thing? One of the top executives at India’s premier pharma company seems to think so. Last week Brian Tempest, the former CEO and current “chief mentor” at Ranbaxy Laboratories, told an industry gathering that the growth of India’s below-25 population “is going to act as a secret weapon in the future,” according to this report in the Hindu. Tempest went on to take a jab at China, saying that slower Chinese population growth would put the Middle Kingdom at a disadvantage. Says Tempest, “the one-child policy in China will play a spoilsport.”

The logic is simple. Fast population growth equals more young people, and more young people equals a more dynamic work force. According to the Indian Express, citing India’s Ministry of Labour and Employment, India already has an advantage over more advanced economies. The median age in India in 2000 was 24, compared to 30 in China, 38 in Europe and 41 in creaky old Japan.

However, most of those Indians live in the countryside, and it’s no secret that India’s rural population is not sharing in the boom enjoyed by people in other parts of the country. In the past, Asiatech blog readers have written in to debate the merits of India’s development model versus China’s, and the topic of population growth has come up a lot. I’m no fan of China’s one-child policy, and I definitely am not advocating that India adopt anything like it. (Aside from the obvious human-rights problems associated with the policy, some experts argue that the slowdown of China’s population growth came before it even went into effect. For instance, see this article from the New England Journal of Medicine.) Given what happened when Indira Gandhi tried to take action to control the population, it’s also understandable why lots of Indians oppose the idea of the government getting involved now to keep the growth rate down. Maybe there is nothing that politicians can do to slow India’s march to be No. 1 in population. But if the Indian economy is really going to benefit from all those young people in its population, policymakers should at least focus a lot more on the problems of rural India.

Reader Comments

Tom

September 20, 2006 5:08 PM

India should invest more money on education and improve its literacy rate. According to CIA World Fact Book, China's literacy rate is 90.9% and India's literacy rate is only 59.5%.

Literacy is an indispensable means for effective social and economic participation. It is hard to imagine that a larger population can give India a competitive advantage if its literacy rate is substantially lower than that of China.

Andy

September 21, 2006 1:36 AM

In the era of scarce resources, India's explosive population isn't a responsible decision. Moreover, the only advantage India will have over China is the transfering of low cost manufacturing from China to India. Well, China won't need those sectors as it pursues the hi-tech sector. In fact, if India can't provide jobs for the newborn babies, they may cross the border to neighboring countries such as China, legal or illegally. What can China do to address the shortage of labor in the future? China can always invest in robotic technology.

Steve

September 24, 2006 9:12 PM

Please go through a recent report by Teamlease which mentions the horrible unemployment situation in India by 2020.

jane

September 30, 2006 1:36 PM

I am Chinese. I see things really changing because of the one-child policy. I am no fan of this policy though. I agree China should generally give up the population control policy. In some cities it actually has happened in recent years. (The one-child policy doesn't mean that every family can only have one child. It's misleading. I was born after the policy was carried out, but I have a sister. And three out of five of my roommates in the university also have brothers or sisters.) For India, I don't think it would be a good idea to gain the so-called advantage from a large population. Low income, worse social security, higher competiton in educational resources might follow the fast population growth.

Lokpriy

October 5, 2006 2:21 AM

India has complete advantage due to its young population base over many other countries in coming years. Today India has more then 55% of its population in working age group and this is really a benefit if we see it in economic terms. The window of opportunity provided by a relatively large and young workforce, a result of the demographic dividend, has opened for India. The policy environment, however, is not conducive for exploiting this advantage. There is urgent need for government intervention to provide work for all and make a rational policy to reap the benefit of this working population. It will certainly give India an edge over other rising economies because of the avaibility of cheap labour and low cost in all production sectors.

Gourav

October 6, 2006 12:26 PM

More people = more mouths to feed = more strain on our scarce resources = more people fall ill = more medicines sold.

Sure - having a bigger population than China is a wonderful thing ... but only to a PHARMACEUTICAL company executive.

If I had any Ranbaxy shares, I'd have sold them on principle.

Vineet

October 9, 2006 4:48 AM

I think Globalisation is opening up labour markets and I don't see India having to worry about feeding its teeming millions. The West is aging. So is Japan and China. They need manpower. India's biggest export in the 21st century is going to be its manpower which includes high end, low end and even unskilled workers. Moreover by 2030 the Indian population is going to stabilize around the 1.6 bn mark. It is a very refreshing thought to have so many determined and enthusiastic young guns enriching Indian democracy and saving them from the clutches of the present crop of old men. The demographics are already having a positive impact on the polity.

Bob

October 10, 2006 7:38 PM

India can not provide a decent standard of living for the population it currently has. The country has 900 million people without potable water or a toilet. A larger population will not gain India any more respect than getting the bomb did. And what good will it do to have a billion people earning low wages and manufacturing for other countries, when few people in India will ever earn enough to buy any of these goods. India, and the world, have limited resources and another half billion Indians without a toilet can not be a good thing.

As for Ranbaxy. Recall that this company rose to wealth through theft of patented drug formulas in violation of international law. If India wants to be a truly great country, it might try to earn some respect in some manner besides becoming an even larger source of untreated sewage.

Andy

October 11, 2006 2:31 PM

The Indians are too optimist that the world will need their manpower in the future. The US has lost their manufacturing jobs not only to outsourcing, but also to robotic technology. When the robotech mature in the future, the world will need less manpower. It will be intersting to see how India will cope with its billion unemployed people. Indian's neighbors should invest in border security from now on.

Vikram

October 18, 2006 11:10 AM

Andy,the world already requires our manpower. It s not some futuristic assumption. We have already done the difficult part of political reforms and now we are reforming economically. I'm afraid I can't say the same about China. Ask the repressed Chinese. They will flock in millions to India if they get a chance. Poor fellows can't even determine the number of kids they are allowed to have.

Andy

October 23, 2006 2:45 PM

@vikram
The last time I checked, China has ten times more foreign investment than India.
Chinese will flock to India? Hmm, maybe if you already have roads, houses, airports (otherwise do you expect Chinese jumbo planes land on your paddy field?) or at least a decent bathroom. Oh, and do something with that smell too. Until then,most Chinese are satisfied to stay in their high rise apartments in China. India might have a democratic system, but not a democratic mentality. In India, the low caste, minorities, and women are treated poorly. There is no law but tradition in countryside.

Obi_wan_snoopy

October 26, 2006 1:22 AM

@vikram
poor Indians, they don't know what to do with all those kids. Only in India, you can buy children and rent a wife.

EyeDee

November 3, 2006 3:53 PM

I see how ill-informed the West continues to be about India. Talking of bathrooms in India, I saw exactly the same bathrooms in Krakow, Poland. Did you realize that there are "western" countries with far worse standards of living? Poorly informed West = less flow of western capital = excellent continuing investment opportunity in India. Excessive capital inflow in China = whoever put there money there is going to have to tolerate subpar returns. ... Go ahead, complain about the bathrooms in India. Vinod Khosla, Lakshmi Mittal, and even the unlikely Deutsche Bank will walk away with the cake. ... Keep it up, let the investment opportunity live! Once you have realized -10% returns annually in US and Japanese stock markets, you will figure out pretty fast where you should have put your money. If the dollar still survives your swashbuckling borrowing habits, that is.

akshat

November 10, 2006 1:55 PM

yes india does has a very large population and if this continues to increase at this rate then there is going to be a lot of problem for survival.food produced will not be enough to feed such a large population.per capita income will decrease.per capita land availability will decrease.evrything will become expensive thus bringing down the standard of living to a great extent.

satya

December 29, 2006 3:41 AM

population control should be the most important thing for india right now.
1. the chinese are doing that and they are not stupid.
2. I would prefer less investment in india to a environmental and human disaster borne by high population.
3. too much of population would put enormous stress on scarce resources.
4.Means more people density, which is not worth even if we continue to get more investment.
5. We shouldn't have big population just to get work or investment from developed countries.

Aaron

January 5, 2007 3:31 PM

My opinion is that India should begin to adopt stricter population control. Large, young demographics is indeed an advantage. But this is provided that they are skilled/educated, or that there will be enough jobs in the future to employ their manpower. Otherwise, it's just a "useless" human capital. Another point is resources. Is there enough grains, water, oil, trees, energy, etc to make this ever-larger population live like Western standards? China is right in controlling its population. Too much people is an advantage now, but big problem for future. The ideal population size for China is I think should be around 0.5 to 1 billion, and also for India, or for any "large" country.

dre

January 17, 2007 10:19 PM

i think indians are more resourceful than chinese dudes

Edmund

January 22, 2007 8:54 PM

Its premature to realistically consider India an emerging power. To date it has shown absolutely nothing to prove it has the will or capability to challenge the current world power, the US. So far only China, Europe, and Iran have been able to mount a challenge to US supremacy. India has too many internal problems and polarization. Among Hindus the caste system keeps many marginalized. There is also a lot of friction between Hindus and Muslims, India has the second largest Muslim population in the world, it will have to successfuly integrate is Muslims in order to maintain a peaceful existence.
As a whole for Asia, Democracy does not work. It works in Japan and South Korea because of the US presence in both countries. China is progressing at an impressive rate, and many cities are almost as modern as those in the West. China is also ethnically uniform with 92 percent of the country being Han Chinese, India has many different ethnic groups that don't understand each others languages.

ammadio

January 23, 2007 3:45 AM

Before resorting to jab India with population control lectures, make sure to read the article.

It says the the CEO of a Pharma company said, the population growth could be beneficial to the country.

Now, that is his opinion. This is certainly not the general opinion. The govt is doing their best to keep the population growth on check.

All the hyper growth is happening in the poorer sections of the society. Among the middle and upper segments, it is almost like a one child policy. Most of my friends have just one child. Even my parents more than 30 years ago had only two.

As the level of education gets better, I am sure the population growth will reduce.

Chinese contributors: Stop hiding behind the facade of skyscrapers, cellphones and cars.

Samarth

January 29, 2007 7:02 AM

All you Americans, sort your own problems first before trying to patronize others.

Lawrence

January 30, 2007 4:08 AM

I think because of demographics, India will have the potential to be a more powerful country than China one day. But potential is different from a sure thing. Climate change, which will accelerate with the rise of the vast developing world, is estimated to decrease worldwide grain outputs. That's fine if you are Canada or Russia, the countries that will inherit new wheat belts, but not for India or China. Even rice will move north, something that is worse for India than for China. Not to mention, the future water problems that will compound these issues. It's true that globalization means we can buy food, but most countries don't like signing away food security, and who says there'll be enough food for everyone? In short, India better be damn sure about the future if it is going to bet so heavily.

As for China, I disagree with the one child policy because in my opinion it causes more problems than it possibly solves. I think at least it should be a 2 child policy like Vietnam's, and then gradually there should be no policy at all. Development will naturally slow down pop growth and China doesn't want to play second fidel to India, even if it takes a hundred years for it to happen.

Samy

January 30, 2007 12:06 PM

Having a lot of working age people helps. But it depends heavily on what opportunities the country can provide. Before economic liberalizations, we had it bad. Now we are somehow optimistic to believe it can get only better. India might not look like an another western country or even like china with all the sky scrappers and shiny roads, but better in our own way, moving slower, with all the mess. I think moving slower with the mess is better than losing your freedom or getting influenced on your decision to have children. It is almost in the same line as the argument about abortion is dealt in US. Here we dont argue about that stuff. Its legal or illegal, all we have is total freedom.

BABU

May 17, 2007 3:04 PM

I think the world owning lots to India. India is a land of god and the mother of civilization. India existed 8000 years ago and at that time, China still not existed and the West still lived in cave and had no clothes. And now, in the 21 century, Indian brain power still help and save the world. Just take a look at medicine doctor and software engineers, we can find majority of them are Indian. Without Indian, how can the world live?

anonymous

May 25, 2007 5:48 AM

wassup people! India rocks

Josh

May 26, 2007 5:25 AM

India's literacy rate is 81%, you fat fool!

yashika chowdhary

August 2, 2007 9:06 AM

inspite of havin no proper equipments,less fertile land,noproper irrigation facilties,bad seeds v r stil the leading producers in so many things in da world.our agriculture sector is improved tremendously thanks to our manpower.taik about land army which is the stongest in the world though we dont have proper guns and all.

Gordon Guggwa

September 19, 2007 10:50 AM

It is not the number of people in a given country that matters but rather how you plan for that population.Hence,given proper planning for the population in form of job creation,education,both inventions and innovations in technology,market for the goods produced,migration to other countries for jobs,etc,a bigger population will have more advantages than disadvantages.

David from Oz

September 20, 2007 10:11 PM

It troubles me that so many think that a growing population has only positive consequences.
Humans are custodian of this planet and should not only consider our own well being but also all other creatures on this planet. All this talk of economic growth ignores the impact that we as humans are having on the planet.
Living in Australia, I am very fortunate to have a great lifestyle with plenty of land to enjoy Mother Earths resources.
The current inflow of skilled migrants, mainly from China and India, is a sure sign that the educated want to get out of these overpopulated regions of the Earth. Unfortunately this does not solve the problem in their home countries and merely speeds the overpopulation in all areas of the globe.
Makes me wonder what sort of time horizon we have of our species - maybe 10 years though no more than 100. This is extremely scary as this is the only planet we have.
Wake up mankind as at the going rate there are 2 outcomes:
1. Mother Earth says enough is enough and does what happens to all rabbit plagues - mass starvation and poverty.
2. War amongst ourselves for vital resources.
Hats off to China for recognising the problem. For other over populated countries, do something now before it gets worse.

India is for Indians to enjoy. Not a place to treat as one big sewer to leave so as to over populate the rest of the planet.

Chanakya

September 21, 2007 8:03 AM

Andy,

Do you have a habit, go and look every home bathroom and toilets, smell them, wow very good habit. How many countries did u travel and how many toilets did u smell ? Idiot

Mohit Sharma

October 24, 2007 1:43 PM

David from Oz,
Why do you apply different rules for different countries. Currently, Australia has a majority of people originating in UK. You should not criticize globally minded people from other nationalities.

sanjay

October 24, 2007 8:39 PM

Do not underestimate the intelligence of Indians and India’s potential. Just to give you some examples:

1. 30% of silicon valley companies are started up by Indians
2. 50% plus American doctors are Indians
3. 60% NASA scientists are India
4. We are THE RISHEST ethnic group in America, richer than white and Jew
5. Intel Pentium CPU is the basis of Intel. Intel Pentium CPU is created by Indian
6. Microsoft is the core of American prowess. 40% of Microsoft engineers are Indians. Without Indian engineers, Microsoft can not be successful. So are Oracle, Google, Cisco on and on …
7. Indians have HIGEST SAT score. Higher than any other ethnic groups
8. IIT are so tough that students who are not qualified for IIT are easily accepted by MIT or Princeton or Stanford etc.

Without Indians, American IT boom and technologies dominance is not possible. I think India will be a superpower at around 2020-2025. Stay tuned for the greatest show.

jcage

October 25, 2007 12:43 AM

Hindus nationalist is all over the place to spew lies and more lies! Please stop with you Bangalore statistic that all the scientist and PHD are Hindus! 40% of the key personnel in NASA, Microsoft and most of Silicon Valley industries are Hindus?! There is lies, lies and Bangalore statistic!

Kevin

October 28, 2007 1:47 AM

India's soaring population is a threat to the entire world. The planet is already seriously overpopulated as it is. Burning of more fossile fuels, destruction of forests, overirregation, overmining, overgrazing, and all other plundering of natural resources all over the world to feed the growth of a huge and fast growing Indian population spells disaster to the whole world. India must implement population control. The root cause of global warming is overpopulation of humans.

John Wayne

October 28, 2007 12:23 PM

FANTASTIC LIES, LIVING IN TOTAL DELUSION WITH THE HELP OF UNREALISTIC HYPE !! Thats all I can say about the majority of the Indian posters and their posts.

nicknguyen

October 30, 2007 5:45 PM

Indian’s incompetent government and her illusionary peoples never realize that Indian’s population is a disaster in the making. What kind advantage do you have when you have hundreds of millions of working age peoples who are of malnutrition, unhealthy and uneducated and with below average IQ? India has very limited natural resource and can not emigrate them all to other developed nations illegally or legally.

amitabh bachan

December 3, 2007 8:28 PM

For a country with a population the size of India, India is a very puny and insignificant state on the world stage.

It is very stupid of Indians to assume that a large (and mostly impoverished) population alone is going to make India a powerful state while India's useless leaders don't do anything tangible to make the superpower hype a reality.

Richa

December 18, 2007 3:25 AM

India's overpopulation is both a boon and a bane...boon because in the coming years it is going to be the biggest source of cheap labor..bane because it will put lot of pressure on the world's scarce resources. To feed, provide education, medical facilities, job opportunities etc. will definitely prove to be a problem of gargantuan proportions for the Indian Govt.

Clearly the disadvantages of overpopulation outweigh its advantages.
Indian economy is booming at more than 9% of GDP growth.But this high growth rate is diminished by the huge number of Indians resulting in low per capita availability of resources.

India is witnessing unprecedented growth on many fronts be it IT or medical tourism. India is striving hard to not just maintain but also improve this growth. Despite the population pressure India is developing fast and will continue to do so in the coming decades. the need of the hour is to adopt effective population control measures so as to speed up the rate of this development.

BeWay

December 18, 2007 6:30 AM

The days will come when India will just implode and explode when the population growth goes out of control. Population growth is exponential, if Indians still don't know statistics.

Neo

December 18, 2007 10:02 PM

Guys, criticism of anything is the easiest thing to do. I would have appreciated if any one of you would have talked about the possible solution to the problem you see. Overpopulation is a challenge which India faces today, and so are different challenges with all other countries too. But we shall overcome...one day.

Kor

December 20, 2007 12:43 AM

It is unlikely that China will overtake the U.S. to become the world's pre-eminent military-economic power simply because its problems are too great for it to overcome, i.e. population, mass pollution, lack of democratic infra-structure, etc.
At the same time it doesn't look likely that India will achieve that status either. Although much further along in its democratic evolution India has never, in its history, been had a great global empire like Rome or China. Perhaps it is not in the makeup of Indians to do so. We can agree that there have been instances of great individual intellectual achievement in India but on the governmental level much less so.
Some of the comments on this board on the part of Indians are a bit too nationalistic for my taste - it adds little to nothing to the discussion. Anyone can find anything positive to point to over China and so can the Chinese over India. But all it contributes to is more chest-thumping. We need more serious reflection on these issues.
The issue of whether or not having a significantly larger population base is good for India's economic and social health is something we can all weigh in on. Also, the flip side, of having fewer people - would that be better or worst for China as it continues its economic push?

Musafir

December 26, 2007 5:50 PM

I came across this site accidentally while surfing the web for articles on world population. The purpose of this forum is to discuss "Can soaring population give India an edge over China?"

I read several comments from the Indians using faul language and demonstrating unprofessional manners and attitude. Unfortunately, of all the nationalities of the world I have met ( I am 62 and have lived on 5 continents) the Indians talk and brag about their culture the most. They also boast about their ancient civilization.

I apologize to the fine and cultured folks participating in this forum for the arrogance and discourtesy shown by my fellow Indians. Please forgive me!

India = population bomb = Weapon of Mass Extinction

January 19, 2008 9:38 PM

All these conceited and self-promotional statements by Indians are disgusting. Futile attempts to conceal the fact that India can't get anything done right.

How can overpopulation be good for any country? Least of all an already overpopulated country like india that has failed to provide even the most basic of essentials like food, clean water, housing, electricity and education for the bulk majority of it's impoverished population.

Even if other countries opened their doors to let in massive hoardes of Indian immigrants, that wouldn't solve anything, a flimsy ducttape solution at best and given the high rate of reproduction among Indians, it won't be long before Indians bring the bane of overpopulation upon the host countries.

Vijay

January 30, 2008 4:55 PM

I share the same sentiment of Musafir and offer my sympathy to the idiots who believe that India's population can provide it an edge.

I have two words for these idiots: Grow Up.

And remember to pay attention in your Civics class.

And for India's sake apply those lessons every waking day.

And a special message for Sanjay:
> 1. 30% of silicon valley companies are started up by Indians.

May be true. But are you one of those Indians?

> 2. 50% plus American doctors are Indians

Could be true. But are you one of those doctors?

> 3. 60% NASA scientists are India
I would certainly want to check that number. But are you one of those NASA scientists?

> 4. We are THE RISHEST ethnic group in America, richer than white and Jew.

Great! So what charitable service have you done for India lately?

> 5. Intel Pentium CPU is the basis of Intel. Intel Pentium CPU is created by Indian.

I am glad it wasn't you.

> 6. Microsoft is the core of American prowess. 40% of Microsoft engineers are Indians. Without Indian engineers, Microsoft can not be successful. So are Oracle, Google, Cisco on and on …

Boy, you really must have your brain washed.

> 7. Indians have HIGEST SAT score. Higher than any other ethnic groups

So what does that do for Indians in India?

> 8. IIT are so tough that students who are not qualified for IIT are easily accepted by MIT or Princeton or Stanford etc.

So are you from any of these institutions? Please tell me you are not.

Stop using other people's hard earned achievements to push your personal agenda.

Arijit Chowdhury

February 7, 2008 11:08 AM

Let me inform u all that, India is going to reach Replacement Fertility level by 2015. So, it is expected that by 2055 or 2060, the population will start to go down. But, for the next 50 years it will increase and it will give India several benefits for comming decades and help India to gain it's supremacy in the world.

Meera Kaura

February 21, 2008 12:30 AM

Short and Crisp: Proud to be an Indian. We should salute all those families residing in India who gave their children the education and means to be able to take benefit of the fruits of globalisation. Let us all help one poor child, so that India's future is brightest.

Brit White Boi - Joe Blogger

April 13, 2008 9:10 PM

Sure Indians, keep on mass producing more babies. This is the only area in manufacture that you'r really ahead of the Chinese. LOL!! And keep on exporting more immigrants, legal and illegal to other countries. You'r ahead of the Chinese in this area as well as latest stats show you desis are now the largest group of immigrants migrating to each and every corner of the globe in huge droves, overtaking even the Chinese.

How this translates into an advantage for India is anybody's guess. Perhaps all you 'learned' Indians out there who post silly comments like 'India will gain supremacy in the world' can shed some light on this topic.

As far as I can tell, you are not innovaters or trend setter in anyway. You just learn to do what others create but cannot create on your own. You may be good copycats but you ain't creators.

Your uncontrolled overpopulation and subsequent migration spells disaster not just for your own country but to all other countries as well. If you Indians were really as smart as you love to claim, then you'd make India a habitable place for yourselves to live in instead of fleeing to other countries. Make any sense??????

Chaitalie

May 27, 2008 8:28 AM

I hope our dear Prime Minister and his cabinet are taking notice of all the speculation about India and its potential future. The aging west may yet have the last laugh if our sluggish government does nothing to nourish and educate millions of impoverished children in India.

However, what probably the ignorant west does not know is the source of overflowing British coffers that swelled because the Brits robbed India and got away with it ....for 200 years, while the wild west only needed to be tamed. It gave birth to a thriving USA. To emerge from its crippling setback took India more than sixty years, since it had to rely on a tired set of reformers who were just about able to regain their breath once they could oust the Brits.

But no excuses folks! Over-population due to complete ignorance and orthodox beliefs in the rural areas is a curse. Our government continues to show its incompetence when it continues to neglect the basic needs of the marginalised masses.

Yet, India's the only place in the world where just about anyone is welcome!

manu

June 9, 2008 4:44 PM

Hi all, and vikram in particular who is getting the beating from all. I think when we talk about population we do need young population to run the country and sustain it vigour and vitality. Can u imagine running a country with old dilapidated people?

We cannot supress people from having any number of children, we can educate them to go for less children which is wat India is doing. The amount of resources consumed cannot depend on population as USA which has less population than India and china is the biggest consumer of everything in the world. Wood, paper, food, fuel, all types of raw materials etc..... why do somebody blame India for its population then? Why dont they blame USA? Why are they scared of even pointing fingers at US people or Govt.?

When it comes to toilet, India is much better than UK as I am currently living in UK where there are no toilets in the centre of a busy market place or in the city centre. The govt urges the Bars and restaurants to allow people to go and piss. Let us not forget UK is one of the richest countries in the world. Most of the time it is cold in UK during the year and if u want to piss u need to search for 30 mins and beg and if u dont get one piss in ur pants.

When it comes to how dirty the western world is very horible to even tell this. They use paper to wipe their arse. Tell me one thing if u wipe ur oily food plates with paper will u be satisfied enough to eat in the same plate again or will u wash it with detergent and water? That is why Indians use water to wipe their arse as it cleans neatly. Why do u take bath in water not wipe urself with paper? to manufacture paper it takes so many tree and forests are destroyed but water is not so very easily exhaustible atleast for some years to come.

Tom

June 11, 2008 3:15 AM

@Manu,
"Tell me one thing if u wipe ur oily food plates with paper will u be satisfied enough to eat in the same plate again or will u wash it with detergent and water? That is why Indians use water to wipe their arse as it cleans neatly"

Are you going to eat from your arse?

Eden

July 29, 2008 8:02 PM

In other countries indians do so well if the education system was improved and the literacy rate was imporoved in India then that country could become a very wealthy country.

samyvellu

July 30, 2008 12:22 AM

Our population is young and we speak a second language. India will be the next superpower!

yasin malik

July 31, 2008 8:24 PM

"In other countries indians do so well if the education system was improved and the literacy rate was imporoved in India then that country could become a very wealthy country."

This proves that Indians are followers and not leaders. Otherwise Indians would prosper in India instead of always seeking to prosper through resources provided by a foreign environment.

"Our population is young and we speak a second language. India will be the next superpower!"

Are you ignorant or what? Your population may be young but it's also amongst the poorest and most malnourished in the world. Many other countries speak more than one language but they ain't superpower, got that.

Grant chisapa

October 13, 2008 9:58 AM

It is very disappointing to see that although high population growth rate has left most of the people in poor social,economic,and environmental crisis,people have continued supporting it.and this has led most of the african states to be in abject poverty.hence there is need to advocate for reduced birth rates so as to improve the livelihood of the people,as it is one of the short term measures.

murli gopal

October 29, 2008 6:10 AM

Its sad to see people gobbling up ideas meted out by the likes of the great Prahlad who says our economic might resides in our population!!

First one needs to think like a responsible human. The earth cannot sustain such population growth for long.Global warming and ecological disasters are also due to a large population.Then again the economic benefit has percolated to less than 30% of the population. Over 70% lives below the poverty line with nothing for sustenance. Are we supposed to be proud of that? People talk of education. But i have seen middle and upper middle class people having more than two children!!! What about all those african countries where the literacy rates probably much below us?

Finally why do we need such a huge population? To work as laborers in factories abroad. I would rather that we are a small but highly educated nation with a lot of intellectual capital.
What a crying shame!

Shreya

November 4, 2008 7:01 AM

"FANTASTIC LIES, LIVING IN TOTAL DELUSION WITH THE HELP OF UNREALISTIC HYPE !!", "stinking loos"!!! (are u kidding me!), "Indians dont know statistics" (ofcourse who so ever said this was completely oblivious to the fact that Statisics and arithmetics were discovered in India!)
Wow! what perfect example of Western chauvinism! And these are the people who talk of "Global citizenship"!
If only these countries took out some time and inclination to get to know more about other countries! I suggest these specific ppl realize that No! We do not go to school on elephants! And when we call ourselves "Indians", it has nothing to do with us being "Hindus" (We do have enough anti secular problems of our own than someone else to add to it if he or she knows nothing of the social fabric in the first place!).. and yes! We do speak english.. even in the villages! (India's english speaking population happens to be notably higher than that of the USA)

Now that i (hopefully) cleared a few mis conceptions, I would like to share something interesting I came upon with the rest of the people who are genuinely interested in the ongoing debate and are devoid of prejuidices.

This is a very recent report by McKinsey and company -

http://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/publications/india_consumer_market/executive_summary.asphttp://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/publications/india_consumer_market/executive_summary.asp

Mitesh

November 24, 2008 10:32 AM

Lot of comments..some driven by optimism,arrogance,experience,patriotism etc

I think world is moving towards globalisation, with that we all should forget our differences and work together

Mitesh

November 24, 2008 12:08 PM

There are many comments driven by Patriotism, optimism, past-experiences, fear etc...

The world is moving towards Globalisation. In my opinion we should forget our differences and work together. We are already facing environmental irregularities. What if we reach to a level where, if we continue to manufacture and destroy the environmental elements which are scare.

In this discussion since we are talking about whether or not population can be boon or disaster for India.

Some of the comments above high-lighted that this would give more human resources to India which is good sign if there is more demand for skilled or unskilled labor, but what if better technology is invented and we dont need that much of the labor force.

The main problem is close-mindedness, poverty and illiteracy. If we are able to overcome these problems then perhaps we will understand things better. There will rationale thinking in what we do. what is good for us and environment.

Trying to defend will not make any change. We must act as some of the participant mentioned above. we know there is a problem. If you compare our standard of living with other countries we will know. We should try to think how we can come up with economic plans which will improve the living standard in our country. There is much to say on this, however i would like to limit myself by saying.That there are issues, we should accept it and work together to come up with plans to tackle it.

Uddhav

February 22, 2009 2:57 AM

To my fellow indians...

don't compare ourselves to USA yet....They are certainly a great nation...we still have time to rise there...but be positive about what future holds!! I have full faith in my country and i dont know about being a superpower, but I think we should plan to be a developed country first!!! feed all those hungry stomachs!!

all we have is glory of history!!! India's GDP was 22% of the world in 1820 as compared to 6% of great britain. In hundred years, british managed to get it down to .5% while rising Britain's GDP...We shall rise again!! Every dog has its day...

America today is after 250 years of indipendance. We have just passed 60 years of independance...so compare ourselves with what america was 150 years back!!

Also, development of few metropolitan cities does not mean development of India!!! But that is surely a start...

Population has to be controlled!! It's

Gautam

April 20, 2009 2:26 PM

My God these Western clowns are idiots. Have you ever heard of this little thing called economic growth? How about scientific progress? Oh wait - your economies grow at 0-2% and you have to import scientists and engineers from Asia because your society can't produce enough of them on their own.

Makes sense why you can't understand that India being poor now does not mean India will be poor in the future - we have per capita GDP growth. A lot of it. Go learn what it is.

And a large population can be sustained with better technology. The level of agricultural production today would've been unimaginable 50 years ago and yet we're living on the same planet as then. And who are Westerners to talk about environmentalism when you have absurd levels of per capita consumption? Indians are harmless compared to you. Staggering hypocrisy and idiocy.

Sigh.

WarOnIndia

November 22, 2009 6:30 AM

It's time to rethink our positions on India and either they control their population, or the world goes in and kicks their stupid asses back to the stone age!

Sameer

December 12, 2009 12:51 AM

The only way that I can think of large population being an advantage is if the aging countries will accept Indians to do their work and have very relaxed immigration laws. For some reason, one of those include automation, i don't really see that happening. Most Indians and their children will have to suffer in the 2.4% landmass that they have.

What is a large GDP gonna do if per capita income is low and living conditions are getting worse due to environmental degradation. We need to slow the baby making down. In fact I see no problem in using force and coercion to achieve this. It is for the benefit of my fellow countryman I think we need to take drastic measures to make this happen. Make laws, put penalties, rewards for families with fewer children etc...

Sameer

December 12, 2009 4:06 AM

Wow! I am surprised at some of the ridiculous comments made by both Indians and non-Indians alike.
Some have suggested that Indians don't have it in them to be an industrialized nation. What is that supposed to mean? Are you trying to say that Indians are somehow biologically inferior to others? If that is your indication, I would like to see some scientific proof.

Others have suggested that Indian are not trend setters but are rather followers who can only succeed in a western environment.

Now I don't encourage any mindless chest beating on anyone's part, but these people really do need a proper history lesson on India. Just because India has been poor for the last few centuries doesn't mean the situation has always been so. Indians have created empires as rich and wide as anything that Romans/West came up with.
For several centuries India was the biggest economy in the world peaking around almost a third of it at some point in history. These are all well documented facts and not just some crazy ramblings of an idiot. If you need proof, I would be glad to provide them

There are other points but I don't have to prove India's worth which she has done many times over in its long and rich history.

That said (and I agree it was completely off topic but I was only responding to some of the comments made by previous posters) that I believe that strict actions must be taken to control and eventually reduce India's population or it faces a doom. I think it should be one of Indian Govt's top priorities and remain so until Indian population is no more than 200 million people. I know its a very distant dream maybe even a ridiculous one (What do you expect from a guy who thinks that the world population should not be any more that 700 million people), but thinking big is important. I want a very small India with highly intellectual population who are at the forefront of technological and cultural innovations in the world. Military power and being global power are useless in the grand scheme of things.

C. H. Ng

December 14, 2009 2:25 AM

It seemed like many of the Indian posters here never learned that for all their boastings & braggings, they made themselves look foolish & their country a brunt of jokes.

For the rest of us non-Indians, just let them be and/or let them continue making fools of themselves. Since they love to talk big & loud, we should give them the "freedom" to talk as much as they can till they can finally come to their sense that empty vessel makes the loudest noise.

@All Indians

December 14, 2009 9:36 AM

How dare does the world talk badly about China. Here goes another western media's usual China bashing. How many time do we have to told that China and Chinese people are God's gift to this Earth. The rest of the world owes them living and prosperity. China is a most capable nation on Earth that can do nothing wrong. All we seek is China's mercy so we can survive on this Earth. China, please let us survive, while you please thrive. And yes, it is only fair for the Chinese to be embarrased when compared to India. After all according to a recent study completed by Genome Institute of Singapore, most asians (including Chinese) have Indian genes. That is because the first human migration into Asia started from India. India's influence on China (Yoga, Buddhism) is really embarrasing for the China.

C. H. Ng

December 14, 2009 10:44 PM

There are lots of rubbish craps out there in this blog. Hey there is nothing in this world which is TOTALLY good or bad.
Lets look at this population issue:-
If lets say you are earning $1,000 monthly & having 2 kids, that means your family of 4 is living within $1000 income (forget about any tax you need to pay). Now imagine you & your wife have 8 children, that means 10 of you living on a meagre $1,000 income. Between a family of 4 & 10, which is more easier to feed? Would it not be a struggle? Is it not a bad point?

Of coz you can argue & say having more kids would mean having more chances of one of your kids will be successful in his or her life and thus bring your family out of poverty line later in your life. I cannot deny this can be considered one of the good points. But unfortunately before the good point can be realised, just think of how you are going to feed them in the first place or provide them the educations they need before they can have the knowledge to be successful in life? Unless you are thinking along with some idiots' out here who want their many children to be a source of cheap labour, then I got nothing to say.

rayn

March 21, 2010 1:03 PM

hey .....i am indian bu=y national... but ....i dont fell the same as the other fellow indians fell here.....i think...india will face a very grave danger in coming future.....the poor class of india 30% are really the power to nation...as a cheap labour ..but is a serious problem...coz they really creating mess with growing the numbers of reproduction.... well...what i fell the new generation in india...thinks the same way....that we must control...this ...plague....its very harmful and not very good ....to have more than 1 or 2 ..children ...its good to have a better living conditions....well...i am really very sure ...that we will do it soon...we can reduce the popolation.....if people like some indians in this blog....should not just tell what india is and what india was.....we really need to focus on the problem...let world say whatever they want... i dont know ...ehy i find every indian describing that our civilization was 8000 years old and we have engineer and scientist.... blah blah blah..... what are you doing....? this is the question we ust ask to ourselves.....contribute in nation's progress apply things on ourselves....we together can change ...things... soo...i request u dont just write what india is ...let us show what we are and what will can do ......

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies.

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