India has no clear-cut solution to its looming population crunch, as the country’s ageing population continues to grow and its economy slows, experts say.
Experts say the country has no fixed target to reduce the birth rate and that the government needs to find ways to address the growing concern about its future.
While India’s birth rate has been steadily rising, its GDP has contracted for years.
The country’s gross domestic product shrank by 1.7% in the April-June quarter, the weakest pace in three years.
India’s economy is set to shrink at least 2% this year, according to the IMF.
“In a few years time, it is likely that the birthrate in India will be about half of that in the developed world,” said Shobha Gupta, a senior economist at the National Institute of Economic Research.
India has one of the highest fertility rates in the world, at about 2.7 children per woman.
As India ages, the country will have to find a way to slow its population growth, which is expected to accelerate as it becomes wealthier.
According to a new study, India’s population is set for a peak of 6.3 million people in 2045.
That would leave it with about 8.8 billion people.
“This is a problem for India,” said Jyotiraditya Joshi, a sociologist at the Institute of Development Studies.
The country’s birthrate has been falling in recent years, according the World Bank.
But the latest estimate by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) suggests India’s annual birthrate is set at 1.4 children.
A growing number of India’s elderly are expected to die in the coming decades, with a growing number expected to live to be around 80.
The population in India is projected to peak at 5.3 billion in 2035.
By 2051, the share of the elderly will exceed 80% of the population.
India is a net importer of people, the IIASA says.
India will also face a “new challenge” as it transitions to a greener economy, said Shishu Ramanathan, an expert on demographic trends at the Indian Council of Social Research.
India’s population will grow faster than the GDP in the decades ahead, he said.
India faces the daunting challenge of trying to contain its population explosion.
The International Monetary Fund says the country should try to limit the number of births to about 1.5 children a woman by 2040.
India is expected, however, to have to deal with a rise in maternal mortality.
Experts say that the current birth rate is unsustainable.
“We are seeing a big jump in the age distribution of the newborns.
There is an oversupply of births, which are also increasing the demand for labor,” said Manish Mehta, an economics professor at the University of California, Irvine.
Mehta said India has the highest infant mortality rate in the global economy, at around 20% of babies born last year.
India’s per capita mortality rate is more than double that.