La India con 1.500 millones de habitantes

La población de la India asciende ahora a poco más de mil millones de habitantes; a mediados de este siglo, habrá rebasado casi con toda seguridad los 1.500 millones, con lo que en algún momento superará la población de China antes de dejar de aumentar, pero, por preocupante que eso pueda parecer, representa, en realidad, una considerable disminución demográfica: la población de la India más que se triplicó durante los sesenta últimos años. Además, la economía está creciendo mucho más rápidamente que antes. Así, pues, ¿podrá la India ser un hogar cómodo para 1.500 millones de personas?

Recientemente he preparado (junto con Tim Dyson, Leela Visaria y otros) un estudio cuya conclusión, modestamente optimista, es la de que, si bien la India puede asimilar su crecimiento demográfico, también afronta varias dificultades importantes.

Es cierto que en el decenio de 1990 se redujo la pobreza, mientras que las tasas de alfabetización y escolarización aumentaron, pero de forma irregular. La mayoría de los grandes Estados pobres de la India -Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthán y Uttar Pradesh- padecen una combinación de crecimiento económico relativamente lento y crecimiento demográfico rápido. Sólo la economía de Rajasthán ha seguido el ritmo del resto del país; los otros cuatro no se han beneficiado demasiado de la liberación del comercio y la reglamentación.

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