External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday said that India’s population is declining due to education, social awareness and prosperity.
At an event in Gujarat, where he launched the Gujarati translation of his book, ‘The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World’, he discussed India’s population and said, “The rate of growth of Indian population is falling. The reason is education, social awareness and prosperity. The family size among each one of us, with the passage of time, is small.”
“Forced population control can have very dangerous consequences, it can create a gender imbalance,” Mr Jaishankar added.
Since Independence, India has witnessed a huge change in its demographic structure. It has gone through a population explosion (Census 1951) and has also witnessed a decline in the total fertility rate.
The UN World Population Prospects (WPP), 2022, forecasts India becoming the most populous country by 2023, surpassing China, with a 140 crore population. India currently has 17.5 per cent of the world’s population.
India is projected to reach 150 crores by 2030 and 166 crores by 2050.
In 2021, India’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) slipped below the replacement level of fertility (which is 2.1 children per woman) to two.
Mr Jaishankar also highlighted India’s independent foreign policy which has been transformed under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Due to some political reasons, we had to restrict ourselves from enhancing relations with Israel. Prime Minister Modi was 1st Indian Prime Minister who went to Israel. The time has gone when we used to keep national interest aside for vote bank politics,” said Mr Jaishankar.
Lauding Prime Minister Modi’s initiative in foreign policy, he said, “I will envy the person who is the Foreign Minister in 2047, but I will tell you one thing, to be the Foreign Minister of Narendra Modi govt is also a great strength. There are core beliefs, confidence and attitude, and the world is recognising it.” Foreign policy during the first term of the Prime Minister Modi’s government did extremely well. There were hardly, if any, missteps, Mr Jaishankar added.
Across the board, starting with the idea of the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and the idea of building strategic partners, Prime Minister Modi, and his personal approach towards reaching out to different stakeholders, yielded huge dividends, Mr Jaishankar said.