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--------------------------------------------------------------------- Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it! --------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Dr. Sanjeev Sabhlok <sanjeev@sabhlokcity.com>
To: debate@indiapolicy.org
Subject: one billionth child of India

I'm sure everyone has read this. Also found in my mailbox.

Sender: "Jagdeep Perhar"

This is based on the report that India has already given birth to 1 billionth child and based on present projections, India looks set to overtake China by 2045.

A report by the Worldwatch Institute, based in Washington DC, says the birth of the billionth
Indian "is not a cause for celebration".

It says half of India's adults are illiterate,
more than half of its children are undernourished, and
a third of its people live below the poverty line.

Barely keeping pace

In the last 50 years India has tripled its grain harvest, with new high-yielding crops and a tripling of the irrigated area.

Even so, the report says, food production has barely kept up with population.

Now the rise in grainland productivity is slowing, as it is in many other countries. And the amount of land available to each Indian is shrinking.

In 1960 there was an average of 0.21 hectares of grainland for every citizen.
That has fallen to 0.1 ha today, and by 2050 is likely to have fallen further, to 0.07 ha.

Food production is also threatened by falling water tables.

The International Water Management Institute estimates that India is using its underground water reserves twice as fast as they are being replaced.

Unable to respond

That is serious in a country where irrigated land produces 55% of the grain harvest, and where
most irrigation water comes from underground.

The Worldwatch Institute says the Indian Government, "overwhelmed by sheer numbers, is suffering from democratic fatigue", and is unable to respond properly to new crises.

And it believes that means the worsening environmental problems are likely to have a grim outcome.

"If this decrease in water supplies causes food production to drop, death rates are likely to increase."

In some ways, the report says, India is now paying the price for developing nuclear weapons. "As a result, it now has a nuclear arsenal capable of protecting the largest concentration of impoverished citizens on Earth."

Different priorities

Comparing India's use of 2.5% of its GNP for military expenditure with the 0.7% it spends on health, the report's verdict is stark.

"Unless India can quickly reorder priorities, it risks falling into a demographic dark hole, one where population will begin to slow because death rates are rising.
"It may be time for India to redefine security. The principal threat now may not be military aggression from without, but population growth from within."

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