Indien mit 1,5 Milliarden Menschen

Die Einwohnerzahl Indiens beträgt heute etwas mehr als eine Milliarde. Diese Zahl wird sich bis zur Jahrhundertmitte mit ziemlicher Sicherheit noch auf 1,5 Milliarden erhöhen und damit, vor dem Ende des Bevölkerungswachstums, die Einwohnerzahl Chinas übertreffen. Obwohl diese Entwicklung Besorgnis erregend erscheinen mag, stellt sie jedoch einen beträchtlichen demographischen Rückgang dar: In den letzten sechzig Jahren hat sich die Bevölkerung Indiens nämlich mehr als verdreifacht. Überdies wächst die Wirtschaft schneller als zuvor. Wird Indien also in der Lage sein, 1,5 Milliarden Menschen eine lebenswerte Heimat zu bieten?

Kürzlich erarbeitete ich als Koautor, gemeinsam mit Tim Dyson, Leela Visaria und anderen, eine Studie, die vorsichtig optimistisch zum dem Schluss kam, dass Indien zwar sein Bevölkerungswachstum in den Griff bekommen kann, aber mit einer Reihe drängender Probleme konfrontiert sein wird.

Es trifft zu, dass sich die Armut in den 1990er Jahren verringert und die Alphabetisierungsraten ebenso wie die Schulbesuchsquoten erhöht haben. Allerdings verlief diese Entwicklung uneinheitlich. Die meisten der großen armen Bundesstaaten Indiens - Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan und Uttar Pradesh - leiden unter einer Mischung aus relativ langsamem Wirtschaftswachstum und raschem demographischen Wachstum. Nur die Wirtschaft in Rajasthan konnte mit der Entwicklung im Rest des Landes Schritt halten. Die anderen vier Bundesstaaten haben von der Liberalisierung im Bereich des Handels und der gesetzlichen Vorschriften wenig profitiert.

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