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India Queen of the World: it is the country with the most people on the planet, surpassing China

According to assessments and measurements carried out by the World Economic Forum, China has just lost the primacy of the most populated country in the world. The new top of the ranking sees India as the state with the largest number of inhabitants.

A condition that brings with it many challenges, many opportunities but also many risks. Obviously, having a population like India's allows for monstrous economic growth and an ever-increasing international role.

On the other hand, however, the question of the social conditions that have to be adapted to such a large number of inhabitants opens up more and more. The challenges of the coming decades will be decisive, but India is preparing to enter the top-3 of the world's largest economies, with or without a record number of inhabitants.

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India Queen of the World: it is the country with the most people on the planet, surpassing China
According to assessments and measurements carried out by the World Economic Forum, China has just lost the primacy of the most populated country in the world.  The new top of the ranking sees India as the state with the largest number of inhabitants. A condition that brings with it many challenges, many opportunities but also many risks. Obviously, having a population like India's allows for monstrous economic growth and an ever-increasing international role. On the other hand, however, the question of the social conditions that have to be adapted to such a large number of inhabitants opens up more and more. The challenges of the coming decades will be decisive, but India is preparing to enter the top-3 of the world's largest economies, with or without a record number of inhabitants.
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A world in contrast
The future of the world, we now know, will be in Asia, with all the world's major cities within the next few decades to be in that part of the planet. Right now, India has surpassed China in population numbers, a significant figure that is the child of decades-old policies. Some of the challenges are very exciting, such as the possibility of increasing influence in the world, while poverty and unemployment are two of the dangers that are always around the corner for India.
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The one-child policy in China
Due to an out-of-control population increase, former Chinese President Deng Xiaoping launched the so-called 'one-child policy' in 1980, which prohibited families from having more than one child per household. This worked too well, however, and now China's population is declining. Back in 2015, current President Xi Jinping allowed up to two children per family, a number later increased to three. In addition, divorce has been made extremely difficult in China, a way to incentivise families and avoid the dispersion of households.
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An uneven population in China: the dangers are many
It is not only population growth that worries Beijing. Even how society is composed is something that does not leave the Chinese leadership calm. Up to 700 million jobs will be lost by 2050 (23% of the total by then). Moreover, there are currently some 203 million people over the age of 65, and therefore no longer of working age (and they represent 14.3% of the population). By contrast, this percentage in India is only 6.8% (103 million).
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A total turnaround by 2100, and a great danger for China
According to the same estimates of the World Economic Forum, by 2100 the Chinese population could be twice as large if the current exponential curve remains. Also in 2100, it has been calculated that the cost of pensions will represent 20% of the country's entire GDP. In contrast, in India it will only be 4%. It does not take much calculation to realise that fewer young people and more elderly people leads to more hospital and pension costs. Moreover, a shrinking workforce also leads to higher labour costs, a real tragedy for the Chinese economy.
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India towards the podium of world economies
Currently, China is growing by 4% every year, while India has already proven that it has no problem exceeding the 6% quota every time. India has already ousted Great Britain to fifth place in the world ranking, still behind Germany and Japan. In the coming years, however, it aims to reach at least third place (a position it is estimated to reach within six years from now).
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The big problem of Indian employment
A key goal for India is to reverse a trend that has seen employment fall sharply in recent years, partly due to macho policies that often relegate wives and daughters to the home. To give you some figures, in 2017 there were 413 million workers, rising to 409 million in 2019 and 402 million in 2022. A loss of 11 million jobs in five years, which in almost every country in the world that does not have this population would mean an unprecedented social catastrophe.
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Fostering job investment only viable path for Indian policymakers
At the moment, in fact, the Indian labour market is at a standstill, and this is not only because of the pandemic years, which have obviously put a strain on a nation so poor in terms of welfare and so large in terms of territory. The problems are also linked to the damage of the 2016 demonetisation and a business climate complicated by protectionist policies that are not smooth enough for foreign investment.
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Some possible solutions to Indian problems
But what could India do, concretely, to solve these problems and secure huge economic growth? Strengthen the infrastructure, as well as renew business rules stifled by bureaucracy, and rework a national plan to give oxygen to industrial development that focuses more on exports. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for India, which is really aiming to join the elite of the world.
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