• According to the estimates of the United Nations (UN), India will overtake China as the most populous nation in the year 2023.
  • As of 2020, India has over 138 crore people and China’s population is over 140 crore people.

Why India is surpassing China as the most populous nation:

  • India’s fertility rates are declining. It is 2.0 as per the data of the fifth edition of India’s National Family Health Survey, 2021. So, it is not due to the population growth of India, but the steps taken by China to limit its population is the main reason why India will likely overtake China in the year 2023. From the year 1980 to 2015, China implemented one-child policy to control its population. In 2016, the country ended one-child policy and introduced two-child policy. In 2021, it ended the two-child policy in favor of three-child policy.

Why overpopulation is bad for any country:

  • Overpopulation can result in low living standards and high unemployment rate.
  • With a growing population, it is very difficult for governments to provide food, health services and other resources to all citizens.

Steps taken by the Indian government to control the population growth:

  • India is the first country in the world to start family planning program. In 1952, India started working on the goal of decreasing fertility rates.
  • National Population Stabilization Fund‘ (NPSF) was set up in 2004 to take measures on population stabilization.
  • India is a signatory of ‘Family Planning 2020‘, a global movement to give 12 crores more women access to contraceptives by 2020. Later, the target year was changed to 2030.
  • Due to widespread awareness programs, almost all married women in India are aware of the contraceptives and surgical sterilization.
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What more need to be done:

  • Government incentives should be increased for families having one child.
  • More awareness programs on the importance of family planning should be conducted.
  • Literacy rates need to be increased. With increased literacy rates and awareness, fertility rates will be declined further.
  • Though Child marriage is illegal in India, still child marriages are happening. Child marriages lead to high fertility rates due to lack of awareness and education. Strict action should be taken against child marriages.
  • Lack of proper medical facilities is causing low survival rates of kids in some remote areas. Due to this, many people in those areas are giving birth to more kids.
  • Still, many Indians are treating their male child as their heir. This perception should go away.


 Countries with low to moderate population density can achieve a high standard of living and peace. The new projections that India will cross China’s population in 2023 is a serious reminder for India to focus more on population control. Along with conducting awareness programs, the government should give more incentives to reduce fertility rates.

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