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Population Explosion and its unbalanced growth

Population explosion is not that much of a problem as an unbalanced growth of population in India. The unbalanced population growth has created a gulf between different sections of society, each one pursuing its own sectional interests. Wider the gulf, larger the problem for the Government. Such demographic changes have given rise to new equations in power echelons.

In 2001, India’s population was 102.9 crore, in 2004 108 crore, in 2009 it is 116 crore, expected to be 124 crore by 2020. No doubt, population explosion neutralizes all the efforts done for economic, infra-structural and social development. It puts more pressure/severe strain on the already over-loaded system, aggravating many problems like poverty, low per capita income, food availability, pressure on land, burden on education, medical care, housing, unemployment, underemployment, rapid depletion of natural resources and environment. It leads to distress migration. It prolongs poverty and misery to millions of people.

Realizing an urgent need to control the population, the Government of India has launched Family Planning Programs right from the first five-year Plan (1951-56) and is still working on it. The problem still remains severe and uncontrollable. Family planning program is the burning example of how a programs started with good intentions, very soon gets derailed. Instead of solving this burning problem and bringing happiness and prosperity to individual families and ultimately to nation, it has led to change the demographic balance of India. 

The manner, in which family planning measures have been taken in India, led to unbalanced population growth. Initially educated and cultured section of society has, by and large, followed Family Planning measures sincerely. The result was that their population growth has been contained. But lower and ignorant strata of society, agrarian community and poor people never paid much attention to it. They do not consider children as burden. This is primarily true in the case of people, who suffer from illiteracy, superstitions, desire of male child, lack of awareness and have high mortality rate among children. To them children are an asset and insurance for old age – the more the merrier.

Though the percentage of poor, illiterate and unemployable people in official figures is coming down continuously, their absolute number is alarmingly increasing. The problem can not be sorted out by coercive methods as was done after Emergency in late seventies. Lucrative incentives should be given to poor and marginalized to have a small but happy and healthy family by choice.

However, protective policies, preferences and allowances given to downtrodden under various Welfare Schemes seem to work as incentives for having as many children as possible. It gives officially declared backward castes encouragement to increase their numerical strength, as it widens their social circle and increases their influence/role in electoral politics. The welfare schemes for such a large population puts a heavy economic burden on government as well as on tax-payers.

There should be dis-intensives for having a large family. Attention needs to be paid their problems like high numbers of maternal and infant deaths by improving the quality of health services and linking population programmes with other incentives.

Countries like Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea etc. which took inspiration from India and started similar programs, much later than India, have already stabilized their population growth.

 

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September 25, 2009 - Posted by | Social and political values and systems |

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