You are here: Home » Current Affairs » News
Business Standard

Is a drop in India's fertility rate bad news for the economy?

Govt data reveal that India's fertility rate is declining. It is now lower than replacement levels -- implying a population decrease in the years to come. Will it hurt the economy in the long run?

Topics
India's population | fertility issues | economy

Krishna Veera Vanamali  |  New Delhi 

A country’s population, along with how fast it grows and its composition, has a significant impact on its economic growth. India’s population is among the youngest in the world. So, the country is said to be on the cusp of enjoying a demographic dividend if it plays its cards right. At the same time, another term -- population explosion -- is also brought up in this context. India’s large population has for long been seen as a hindrance, constraining growth and development. So, how will the decline in population affect the in the long run? Let’s find out. According to the latest National Family Health Survey, also known as NFHS, released by the Union health ministry, India’ total fertility rate has declined from 2.2 in 2015-16 to 2.0 now. So, India’s population is set to eventually fall.

The replacement level -- which is a woman giving birth to 2.1 kids in her lifetime -- is a benchmark. It means that the population will remain stable as total births will be balanced by the total number of deaths in any country. If it is below 2.1, it means that the population is heading for a decline. According to the survey, there are only five states with a TFR above 2. These are: Bihar with a TFR of 3, Meghalaya at 2.9, Uttar Pradesh at 2.4, Jharkhand at 2.3, and Manipur at 2.2. Among larger states, Jammu & Kashmir has the lowest fertility rate, at 1.4. We also spoke to Professor K Srinath Reddy, President of the Public Health Foundation of India, to understand the impact of a stable population growth on the Professor Reddy says a significant importance must be given to nutrition as the NFHS survey revealed that 67% of children under five and 59% of girls in the age group of 15 to 19 were anaemic. Experts agree that India’s demographic dividend will last for another two decades, and possibly for a third. But we should aim to cash in on it sooner rather than later. And in that context, time is fast running out for India.

Watch Video

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Fri, November 26 2021. 08:15 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU