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India’s increasing population and associated issues

  • Category
    Society
  • Published
    6th Jul, 2021

In the recent past, States like Uttar Pradesh and Assam, and Union Territories like Lakshadweep, have proposed to implement a two-child norm as a pre-condition for getting government jobs or to get nominated or elected to Panchayat elections. This brings our focus to population and associated issues.

Context

In the recent past, States like Uttar Pradesh and Assam, and Union Territories like Lakshadweep, have proposed to implement a two-child norm as a pre-condition for getting government jobs or to get nominated or elected to Panchayat elections. This brings our focus to population and associated issues.

Background

  • In recent years, a section of the political class has been stridently demanding a “population control” law.
  • The argument offered in its defence by its votaries is simple: India is experiencing a population explosion.
  • This imposes growing strains on economic resources and contributes to fraying the social contract that holds our society together.

Analysis

Facts on Indian Population

  • India is second most populous country with over 1.35 billion people.
  • Approximately 17.85% of the world's population are Indians, which means 1 in every 6 people on Earth live in India.
  • India’s population is expected to grow by 25%, with reference to 2011, to 1.52 billion by 2036.
  • India’s population growth rate is expected to decline to its lowest since the Independence in the 2011-2021 decade, with a decadal growth rate of 12.5%.
  • According to these projections, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country around 2031.

Cause of Overpopulation

The Decline in the Death Rate

  • At the root of overpopulation is the difference between the overall birth rate and death rate in populations.
  • If the number of children born each year equals the number of adults that die, then the population will stabilize.

Agricultural Advancements

  • Agricultural advancements in the 20th century have allowed humans to increase food production using fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides and yields further.
  • This allowed humans with more access to food that leads to subsequent population explosions.

Better Medical Facilities

  • Illnesses that had claimed thousands of lives until now were cured because of the invention of vaccines. Combining the increase in food supply with fewer means of mortality tipped the balance and became the starting point of overpopulation.

More Hands to Overcome Poverty

  • Poverty is considered as the leading cause of overpopulation. In the absence of educational resources, coupled with high death rates, which resulted in higher birth rates, that is why impoverished areas are seeing large booms in population.
  • Families that have been through poverty, natural disasters, or are simply in need of more hands to work are a major factor for overpopulation.

Child Labour

  • The children being seen as a source of income by impoverished families begin work too young and also lose the educational opportunities reflected, particularly when it comes to birth control.

Technological Advancement in Fertility Treatment

  • Today there are effective medicines that can increase the chance of conception and lead to a rise in the birth rate. Moreover, due to modern techniques, pregnancies today are far safer.

Immigration

  • Many people prefer to move to developed countries like the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, where the best facilities are available in terms of medical, education, security, and employment. The result is that those people settle over there, eventually making those places overcrowded.

Lack of Family Planning

    • Most developing nations have a large number of people who are illiterate, live below the poverty line, and have little or no knowledge about family planning. Besides, getting their children married at an early age increases the chances of producing more kids.

Poor Contraceptives Use

  • A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that women aged between 16 and 49used at least one form of contraceptive are 43% in underdeveloped countries, which leads to higher birth rates.

Effects of Overpopulation

  • Depletion of Natural Resources
    • Most of the environmental damage seen in the last fifty-odd years is because of the growing number of people on the planet. They include cutting down forests, hunting wildlife in a reckless manner, causing pollution, and creating a host of other problems.
  • Degradation of Environment
    • With the overuse of coal, oil, and natural gas, it has started producing some serious effects on our environment. Besides, the exponential rise in the number of vehicles and industries has badly affected the quality of air.
    • The rise in the amount of CO2 emissions leads to global warming. Melting of polar ice caps, changing climate patterns, rise in sea levels are a few of the consequences that we might have to face due to environmental pollution.
  • Conflicts and Wars
    • Overpopulation in developing countries puts a major strain on the resources it should be utilizing for development. Conflicts over water are becoming a source of tension between countries, which could result in wars. It causes more diseases to spread and makes them harder to control.
  • Rise in Unemployment
    • When a country becomes overpopulated, it gives rise to unemployment as there are fewer jobs to support a large number of people. The rise in unemployment gives rise to crime, such as theft, as people want to feed their families and provide them basic amenities of life.
  • High Cost of Living
    • As the difference between demand and supply continues to expand due to overpopulation, it raises the prices of various essential commodities, including food, shelter, and healthcare.
  • Pandemics and Epidemics 
    • Poverty is linked to many environmental and social reasons, including overcrowded and unhygienic living conditions, malnutrition and inaccessible, inadequate, or non-existent health care, for which the poor are more likely to be exposed to infectious diseases. Further, high densities of population increase the chance of the emergence of new pandemics and epidemics.
  • Malnutrition, Starvation and Famine
    • When the availability of resources is scarce, starvation, malnutrition, along with ill health and diseases caused by diet-deficiency such as rickets become more likely.
  • Water Shortage
    • Roughly 1% of the world’s water is fresh and accessible. Overpopulation is a major issue that creates immense pressure on the world’s freshwater supplies.
  • Extinction
    • The impact of overpopulation on the world’s wildlife is severe. As demand for land grows, the destruction of natural habitats, such as forests, becomes common.

SRS Statistical Report, 2018

  • The Crude Birth Rate (CBR) at the National level during 2018 stands at 20.0 exhibiting a decline of 0.2 points over 2017.
  • The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has also registered 1-point decline to 32 in 2018 from 33 in 2017at the National level.
  • Sex Ratio at Birth for the country has gone up by 3 points to 899 in 2016-18 from 896 in 2015-2017.
  • Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for the country is stable at 2.2 in 2018 and 2017.

Conclusion

The long-term objective of achieving a stable population by 2045, at a level consistent with the requirements of sustainable economic growth, social development, and environment protection will require considerable effort and efficient implementation of the National Population Policy.

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