India’s population rises to 1.20bn

India’s population has touched 1.2 billion (121 crore), indicating a rise of 17.64 per cent over the previous figure, according to preliminary results of the 15th Census released on Thursday.

It is also 17 per cent of the world population.

The population of the country has increased by more than 181 million during 2001-11. The absolute addition is slightly lower than the population of Brazil, the fifth most populous country in the world.

The population of India, at 1,201.2 billion, is almost equal to the combined population of the US, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan put together (1214.3 million).

The male population has grown by 17.19 per cent to reach 620 million (62 crore) while the female population has risen by 18.12 per cent to reach 580 million (58 crore).

The count, however, also indicated a continuing preference for male children over females in a country where female infanticide is still common and the government has banned hospitals from revealing the sex of unborn children to their families.

A gender breakdown among children showed fewer girls than boys are being born or surviving, with 914 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of 6, compared to 927 for every 1,000 in the last census.

"This is a matter of grave concern," Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner C. Chandramauli, who released the numbers, said.

Highest population density is in Delhi’s north-east district(37,346 per sq km) while the lowest is in Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh (just one per sq km).

Uttar Pradesh has the largest proportion of the country’s population at 16 per cent, followed by Maharashtra and Bihar (nine per cent each), West Bengal (eight per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (seven per cent).

The literacy rate seems to have risen to 74 per cent nationwide for people aged seven and older, from about 65 per cent in the last census.

Officials added it would require up to a year of data analysis before official numbers could be released.(Agencies)

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