World’s baby No. 7 bn could be born in UP

New Delhi, January 24 (Agencies): In the midst of all the handwringing over population explosion in the country, the Indian government might miss preparing for a global record-setting event – the birth of the baby that would take the population of planet earth to the 7 billion mark. The momentous birth is projected to happen towards October or November. But what’s that got to do with India? Well, we just happen to be the country with by far the highest number of babies born every minute at 51. That means the probability of Baby 7 Billion being an Indian is higher than for any other nationality. In fact, Uttar Pradesh alone has about 11 babies born every minute a figure that no nation other than China exceeds and Nigeria matches.
Actually, the event may even happen as late as early or mid-2012 depending on which person or organization`s estimates you take as valid. After all, there is no agreement even on when exactly the 6 billion mark was crossed. While the UN said its calculations showed that the 6 billion figure was reached on October 12, 1999, the US Census Bureau said it was reached on July 22, 1999. The quibbling over the exact date seems quite pointless considering the fact that 267 babies are estimated to be born every minute in the world, almost a fifth of them in India. With even the date of the event being in question, clearly deciding on exactly which birth tips the scales is an arbitrary process. How does one decide which out of the 16,000 babies born each hour or 384,000 babies born each day becomes the record-breaking 7 billionth baby?
The UN had chosen Adnan Nevic born in Sarajevo, Bosnia on October 12, 1999 as the symbolic 6 billionth baby. UN officials insisted that there was no special significance in the choice of Sarajevo. Similarly, Matej Gaspar born in Zagreb, Yugoslavia on July 11, 1987 was designated the 5 billionth baby. If it’s as random as that, don’t bet on a UP-ite or indeed an Indian baby being conferred the title this time round. The depressing news, of course, is if the baby is born in UP, the chances of he or she celebrating a fifth birthday will be slim as the state has the dubious distinction of having the highest under-5 mortality in the country.
Whichever baby gets chosen as the symbolic 7 billionth, the concern is about the kind of world that awaits these children. As the date to cross the next billion draws closer, there is panic about whether there will be enough food, water and energy for the billions being added too quickly and whether the earth can support them. Between now and 2050, virtually all population growth will take place in the Low Development Countries. This paints a grim picture of the future of the millions who will be born in some of the poorest families in the world.
In just 127 years, the human population crossed the next billion in 1927 and then accelerated further, reaching the next billion within 33 years in 1960. It then raced to touch 4 billion in 1974. Since then, the pace has not been increasing as fast, as it touched 5 billion 13 yrs later in 1987 and 6 billion 12 years later in 1999. Now, another 12 years later, it is expected to touch 7 billion.