11th July is celebrated as THE WORLD POPULATION DAY every year. This day is devoted to focusing on the relevance of population issues. World Population Day was rooted by the Governing Council of the United National Development Programme in 1989, as an outgrowth of the interest generated by the Day of Five Billion, which was observed on 11 July 1987.
The theme for 2021 is rights and choices.
1) Population in India
2) Understanding our population
The total number of children a woman bears is inversely proportional to the following:
- Per capita income
It’s been proved that as the above-mentioned factors rise, the total fertility decreases.
The total number of children a woman bears is directly proportional to the following:
- Infant mortality rate
It’s been proved that as the above-mentioned factors rise, the total fertility rises too.
Our population is growing but at a decreasing rate. It is not an explosion. The total fertility rate, i.e. the average number of children a woman beers, has significantly decreased from 5 to 2.2-2.3 in the last 50 years. The replacement fertility rate, i.e. the number of children a woman needs to have so that the population replaces itself from one generation to another generation is 2.1. Approximately 20 states and UTs in India are very close to it.
3)Why is overpopulation a concern
Well, the rate of growth in the number of human beings is greater than the growth of resources. This means the more the population grows, the difficult it gets to sustain everyone.
- Environmental destruction
As the number of people grows, more resources and places to live are required to destroy natural habitat. This leads to the loss of animal habitat and they’re seen wandering around in human civilization.
An increase in the number of people, increases the demand for jobs to sustain oneself and we as a nation have failed to provide jobs.
A direct relation between poverty and population has been proved by researchers. This means as poverty rises, so does population and vice versa. Along with these, overpopulation brings:
- Social religious conflicts
- Climate change
- Outbreak of diseases
- Social unrest
- Political instability
4) Benefits of having a bigger population
- A high population is an asset, which can be utilized gracefully. We can have an ample number of professionals in all the fields and can even outsource our services. There is more production of goods.
- 4-2-1 problem, i.e 1 child looking up to 4 grandparents and 2 parents, is avoided.
- We’ll have a balance between the ones earning and the ones depending on pensions because if the number of children born is dropped suddenly, the ones depending on pensions will far outgrow the ones earning and that would be very hard to sustain.
5) How not to tackle population
- Population Regulation Bill or a 2 child policy
Implementing such a policy is punishing someone for having kids in the form of banning them from elected offices, eliminating them from government schemes and subsidies, government jobs, and even snatching their food by excluding them from PDS. What do you think are the probable effects of these?
A population reduction? NAH. This coercion will lead to even more poverty in the nation which is in the first place one of the root causes of a high population. Furthermore, this may lead to a poor sex ratio as in the case of China which saw sex-selective abortions, foeticides, and even bride price practice which is in simple words buying a bride and might even lead to people bringing girls from poor nations to marry them.
- Forced sterilization
Sanjay Gandhi and Indira Gandhi led one of the Forced sterilization drives, which is never the answer. Because it violates the choice of the couple, and the right to reproduce which is a basic human right. Even if it doesn’t violate a right, it is unethical to the very roots. Approximately 10 million men were sterilized during that drive and it had no substantial effect on the population growth but had various side effects like deaths and the spread of diseases.
- Blaming Muslims
How many times have you heard the statement that Muslims give birth to more children so that one day they can outnumber the Hindu population, or even politicians asking their Hindu following to have more and more children to just come in way of Muslims outnumbering them? Well India’s last census, conducted in 2011, revealed that Hindus make up 79.8% of the population, while Muslims make up 14.2%. and Muslims have more children because of their developmental and literacy levels. Because in states with a higher development, the total fertility rate of Muslims is less too, and the fall in the total fertility rate of Muslims is less than the fall in the total fertility rate of Hindus. All politicians are doing is find a shortcut to avoid tackling the matter with sincerity and propose these stupid ideas.
Forced population control measures are a problem, the solution lies in the development.
6) How to tackle population?
- Understanding and choosing better leaders for ourselves, voting for the ones who focus on development rather than playing a blame game.
- Mass education about family planning and contraceptive techniques.
- Creating job opportunities, improving healthcare facilities and focusing on education would tackle a lot of other significant issues along with overpopulation.
- Improving access to contraceptives
- Increasing investment in family planning projects
The need of the hour is to plan instead of punishing, utilizing the asset it’s blessed with instead of declaring it a disaster and blaming everything on it and stabilization of population instead of trying to control it. And lastly, having a government that owns up to its responsibilities.