India is headed towards an astonishing population surge. With 1.34 billion people recorded in early 2018, the country is estimated to add another 100 million by 2024 overtaking China, currently the most populous nation in the world.
Therefore, India’s daunting demographics are integral to any discussion around facing challenges it faces. The mammoth population, coupled with limited resources and growing urbanization and energy needs, are important factors behind many socio-economic issues. Be it poverty, healthcare delivery, literacy, pollution or waste management — each of India’s problems can be directly linked to, and are intensified by, its teeming millions.
Some of the most pressing challenges raised by a large population are in the public healthcare, energy and sanitation sectors. Successive Indian governments have made tremendous efforts to meet public needs and expectations. Health concerns such as tuberculosis, maternal and infant mortality, vector- and water borne-diseases, malnutrition, hygiene and sanitation remain major problems, however.
The Nature India special issue on Grand Challenges takes a closer look at some of these hazards, which are experienced across the developing world. What are the grand challenges for the country’s 1.3 billion people? Can science help find solutions to some of the public health problems? Can innovation provide long-term answers?
Through in-depth commentaries by subject experts, this special issue looks at the state of affairs in malaria management, maternal and child health, malnutrition, and tuberculosis. It also looks at the science-led innovations and solutions already on offer. In a reprint section, we compile some recent articles from across Nature Research publications that highlight the grand challenges and research based solutions that India and the rest of the developing world have adopted.
The edition also features a special photo section curated from top entries to the 2017 Nature India photo competition, themed “Grand Challenges.” These pictures are compelling visual narratives of some deeply moving and familiar circumstances. With examples and case studies of evidence-based solutions, the Nature India special issue on Grand Challenges hopes to be an enlightening read for scientists, policy-makers, business leaders and societies across the developing world.
You can download the free issue here.
By Subhra Priyadarshini, Chief Editor, Nature India