Nargis is India's 7 bn symbol, or is she? | world | Hindustan Times
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Nargis is India's 7 bn symbol, or is she?

As the clock struck midnight, doctors waiting for the birth of the baby who would be the Indian symbol of the world population touching seven billion grew restive. They were told to wait - for the first girl child to be born at the community health centre in Mall village. Gaurav Saigal reports. Counting the world's billions | The population count | Rapid growth

world Updated: Nov 01, 2011 01:25 IST
Gaurav Saigal
Gaurav Saigal

As the clock struck midnight, doctors waiting for the birth of the baby who would be the Indian symbol of the world population touching seven billion grew restive.

They were told to wait - for the first girl child to be born at the community health centre in Mall village, 40 km from Lucknow.

They waited 7 hours and 20 minutes. The first four babies were all boys. Nargis was the fifth to be born after midnight but was still the chosen one. Plan India, the NGO funding the festivities, crowned her the India's seven billionth baby.

Countries around the world marked the world's population reaching a record seven billion by holding ceremonies for newborns symbolising the milestone. While demographers are unsure exactly when the world's population will reach the seven billion mark, the UN used Monday to mark the day.

There was more symbolism at play in UP. Mall was chosen as its 40 km off Lucknow, the capital of the country's most populous state, with a population of 200 million. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/011111/01_11_mumbai1.jpg

Nargis and six other girls picked by Vatsalya will get support for food, health and education till they turn seven. The four boys get nothing.

"The child sex ratio at birth in Uttar Pradesh is 899 girls to 1,000 boys. We want to send out a global message to save the girl child," said Dr Neelam Singh, chief of Vatsalya, the local partner for Plan India.

India's sex ratio at birth is 914 girls for 1,000 boys.

"This is our first child and my wife Vinita and I are very happy. I'll work hard to ensure she becomes a doctor," said Nargis' father Ajai Yadav, a farmer.

Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Centre had no plans to mark the birth.

"What's there to celebrate? We'll celebrate when population stops growing," he told HT.

Every sixth person in the world lives in India, where the population shot up by an incredible 181 million - the combined populations of Spain, Germany and Italy - in the past decade.

Counting the world's billions | The population count | Rapid growth