World population: 7 billion

Come Monday, it may be hard to predict which country would see the birth of the seven billionth baby.

Indians, however, are preparing for the historic baby, believing it would be born on their fertile soil, already home to the world’s second largest population of 1.23 billion, second only to China.

While globally, a family anxiously awaits the special child, in Uttar Pradesh, a most populous north Indian state, child welfare groups and villagers are confident a pregnant mother in Lucknow would give birth to the baby.

“We have identified 250 women but zeroing in on seven women to deliver a baby in a health centre here and we are hoping for a baby girl.

“Our focus is on a girl to make it a symbolic event because their ratio (boy:girl) is skewed in UP (Uttar Pradesh) and India,” Dr Neelam Singh, head of

Vatsalya, a leading child welfare movement, told Bernama in an interview yesterday.

She said the first child born, between midnight today and noon Monday, would be declared as the seven billionth baby.

Most women queuing to deliver in the community hall to mark the special event are from nearby villages, largly from farming families.

In UP, the male-female ratio is that for every 1,000 boys, there are 898 girls.

UP is home to nearly 200 million people and an estimated 15,000 babies are born every day in the much underdeveloped state.

– Bernama