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India census reveals slower growth rate

Population growth rate slows but India still on course to overtake China

India census reveals slower growth rate
Jose Kavi, New Delhi

March 31, 2011

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India has added 181 million people, equivalent to the total in Pakistan, to its population in the past decade, according to the latest national census figures released today. As of March 1, the country has 1.21 billion people, according to the registrar general. But doubts over the accuracy of the count surfaced when the Church in Goa alerted the authorities that it ignored many people from the western Indian state who work overseas or offshore. “All these Goans are excluded from the population enumeration process while the migrant population currently in Goa is included,” said Father Valeriano Vaz, director of the diocesan Council of the Social Justice and Peace. An inaccurate census would deprive Catholics of several government schemes, he added. “The government may later cite the census and claim that since the population of Catholics is small there’s no need for any specific scheme or funds. We may not be included in any government planning in future,” Father Vaz warned in February. Those worried about India’s growing population could relax as the latest figures show the growth rate has decreased from 21.15 percent to 17.64 percent over the decade. Of the total population, males account for 623.7 million and females 586.5 million. Now, India has only 914 females for 1,000 males in the 0-6 age group. The number of people who could read and write has increased from 64.8 percent to 74.04 percent. India has 17.5 percent of the world’s population, behind China, which accounts for 19.4 percent. It is estimated that India would become the most populous nation by 2025. IA13820.1647

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