In just seven years, India could surpass China to become the world’s most populated country. By 2022, it could have a population of 1.4 billion, which means one in five people in the world would be Indian.
A report from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs on Wednesday said: "India's population is projected to continue growing for several decades to 1.5 billion in 2030 and 1.7 billion in 2050, while the population of China is expected to remain fairly constant until the 2030s, after which it is expected to slightly decrease".
According to UNICEF, an estimated 26 million children are born in India every year. This means 29 babies every minute or 42,434 babies every hour.
While the newborn add to India’s numbers, the existing population is living longer. According to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, life expectancy in India has gone up by five years between the period 2001-'05 and 2011-'15. This means India won’t see a rapid decline in its population growth any time soon.
China's rising prosperity has played a big role in bringing down its population. It also introduced methods like the "one child per family policy" which offers special benefits to parents with one child. Others are taxed up to fifty percent of their income or punished with loss of employment or other benefits.
In India, coercive methods of family planning have boomeranged. In 1975, Sanjay Gandhi, son of the then PM Indira Gandhi, was strongly criticised for his population control program where impoverished people were herded into mass sterilization camps. According to BBC, an astonishing 6.2 million Indian men were sterilised in just a year, which was "15 times the number of people sterilised by the Nazis”.
Subsequently, the government’s family planning program has focused on getting people to voluntarily opt for birth control methods. The onus has largely fallen on women since men are reluctant to get sterilised.
In recent years, the government has spent much time and money on ad campaigns to raise awareness among Indians about family planning. Here are five of the cleverest ones.