Despite its population being unknown, India is slated to become the most populous country in the world in two months.
According to the United Nations (UN), India may surpass China in population on April 14 when it reaches 1,425,775,850. But, as the latest census data hasn’t been released, it is hard to tell if the UN’s prediction will be correct. The UN also says India’s population has grown by 210 million in the last 12 years.
According to the Chiang Rai Times, the nation won’t know how many people there are for at least a year and probably longer.
But, the country is expected to surpass China’s population by April 2023 even as its once-every-10-year census has not been updated.
The census was due in 2021, but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Technological and logistical challenges have reportedly slowed the data collection.
A senior official at the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation says the actual population is just one of many unknown figures that have yet to be updated. The government’s budget is one figure that is based on census data from over 10 years ago.
Critics, however, say that the government is concealing statistics on politically sensitive problems like unemployment to aid in the 2024 election.
Major opposition Congress party and opponents of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi have accused him of postponing the census for electoral gain. Pawan Khera, the Congress party spokesperson also agreed.
“This administration has often shown its blatant antagonism with data. We have seen how the Modi administration has favoured concealing crucial facts on essential issues like jobs, Covid deaths, etc.”
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, however, has denied such accusations.
The current government run by Modi has reportedly raided BBC India’s office after the country banned a controversial documentary.
The documentary was accused of being critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged role in deadly riots over 20 years ago.
BBC News reported that the raid shut down the offices banning people from entering or leaving. The Indian government blocked the documentary by using what it said were “emergency powers” adding that both Twitter and YouTube complied with the order.
Critics of the ban say it is an assault on press freedom while Modi’s supporters defended him.
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