~ Eashani and Arunima
Statistics of population growth in India:
Currently India is the second most populated country, with the growth rate at 1.1%. By 2050, the population is set to reach around 1.7 billion. The birth rate is 18.2 births per thousand population and the death rate is 7.3 deaths per thousand population. India is in its third stage of demographic transition and thus in general death rates are low and the birth rates also diminish. It is also called the industrial stage.
The population of India has seen a steady growth since independence. Just after independence, in 1950, India’s population was 68% to that of China, and the census of 2011 revealed that it had reached 90% in 2011. Not only in terms of population growth but in terms of literacy, India has seen some astounding results. The literacy rate of india has increased six times since independence (compared from 12% in 2001 to 74% in 2011), but still we are home to the largest number of illiterate adults in the world. According to NSO, the literacy rate of India in 2020 is 77.7%. Even though the literacy rate has increased with time, the gender disparity in literacy still prevails. Less female literacy rate has negative effects on population control measures and family planning initiatives. The gender gap is slowly narrowing as time passes, but we have a long way ahead of ourselves. The teacher student ratio is less than ideal and discrimination based on gender, class and caste has caused a lot of children to drop out of schools. Several NGOs have played pivotal roles in creating awareness and reducing the raging disparities.
Comparison With Other Countries
India is one of the developing countries and it’s exploding population seems to be at a tipping point which is marked as one of the severe problems in India. Extreme population growth rates has India at 2nd position in the world with an estimated 1.38 billion people (2020) which reveals a case of overpopulation. The recent statistical analysis predicts exceeding growth rates in near future. The latest estimates of the total world population with abundant surface area of 135.79 million square km covers 7.2 billion population from 2015.
Top ranker country China with life expectancy of approx. 76.47 years (2017) constitutes 1.44 billion population (2020) and has low fertility rates as compared to India which may result in India being an extremely overpopulated country. The United States ranked 3rd in the list of overpopulated Countries. It constitutes 4.6% of the total world population (2000) as compared to India whose contribution was 16.8% (2001 census) whereas China showed a jump of 21.1%(2000). Pakistan is at 5th position after Indonesia in total world population status. Birth rate of the world population is approx. 18.2 per 1000 people whereas death rate is approx. 7.3 per 1000 people.
This overpopulation scenario can be grasped using statistical data and sampling results of high birth rates, low death rates with average fertility rates of 2.240 births per woman (2018). This huge gap between the two is due to various reasons which have been listed below:
Low literacy rates:
Census 2011 states average literacy rates of India to be 74.04%. The prevalent gender based discrimination has led to low female literacy rate over the years, educated women are known to take informed decisions about their reproductive and health based spheres.
Amended Indian law states that child marriage is illegal and was banned in 1929. Poverty plays an integral role here, as the gender norms dictate, an unmarried girl is a burden on the family. So, families that could not provide for themselves, married their daughters before they had even stepped into womanhood. In 1992, conventional rights stated a minimum marriage age of 18 for females and 21 for males.
Developing medical science:
Our new technology affiliated with medical science is coming up with new methods for those people for whom the chance of becoming parents is extremely low or almost nil. IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation), is the light of hope for couples who want to start a family. Similar methods include surrogacy and test tube babies. All these methods have proved to be a blessing but on the other hand, people prefer to try these methods and never give adoption a thought.
Overpopulation includes illegal immigration as stated under foreigners Act 1946. A person having valid identity proof verifies citizenship of that country. As India is a multilingual, multi religious nation and immigration from border countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar are mostly likely to occur. Approximately 1.2 crore illegal migration was recorded in 2004.
Resources like fertile lands, minerals, forests are interrelated or linked to human life. Deforestation is causing a serious threat to wildlife, lack of potable water is threatening lives on Earth, depleting surface area with no place for animals and these are worrisome.
Human needs and their greed have erased the mesmerizing beauty of our nature. In most of the developing countries people don’t realize that public places should be as clean as their home. Many anthropogenic disordering of nature causes natural calamities which bring disaster. Industries and nuclear power plants continuously produce toxic gases into the atmosphere.
Due to greater demands, there is more consumption of coal, nuclear material , water and other minerals and to meet the requirements of the whole population dam projects have come into action and nuclear power plants have been built. Solar power and windmills have been set up but they are causing more harm than good in most cases.
One Child Legislation
This policy was adopted by china as a control measure in 1979. It aims at one child birth per couple. China ,one of the most overpopulated Countries has high fertility rates as compared to any other countries’. Earlier there were no restrictions on child birth but later on in 1970 they were restricted to have upto two children and finally the exponential increase in population pressurised China’s government to implement one child policy. (“One Child Nation”| Retrieved 2 November 2019.)
National population policy
It was adopted in 1983, and MS swaminathan prepared its draft. It was executed in 2020. It goals at
- Child and reproductive health services.
- Provides free schooling facilities.
- Observes infant mortality rates.
- Keeps proper records of birth, death, marriage etc.
- Follows proper marriage age rules.
- Counseling regarding family planning.
Here are some ways that could curb the rapid population growth:
Education plays a vital role in the development of a person, unfolding the idea of free thinking and informed decision making. Educated mindsets would bring into perspective the harms of population growth on the economy and the environment.
2) Tackling poverty
Poverty and population growth are directly related to each other. Reducing poverty would increase the per capita income growth and wellbeing and its eradication would open several opportunities for the underprivileged.
3) Women empowerment
Women empowerment is the need of the hour as gender disparity has caused severe and irreparable damages. Lack of proper education and awareness affects their outlook on life and often causes them to submit to the expectations of the society.
4) Medical facilities
The rural urban divide in developing countries also leads to highly centric availability of medical facilities. Lack of availability of medical facilities, leads to people taking matters into their own hands with no prior knowledge or education.
The option of incentives has the power to sway decisions. In a developing country, if a government provides incentives for people to have not more than two children, people would prefer to have no more than two children.
6) Creating awareness
Creating awareness about personal health, reproductive hygiene and methods to evade unwanted pregnancy can lead to phenomenal results and change lives. Gender based discrimination and discrimination based on social standing has already crippled minds with fear, creating awareness is the only answer.
7) Promotion of family planning
Family planning ensures choice in procreation. and promoting family planning on a larger scale would induce more and more people to opt for this safe and effective method to curb population growth.
The need for creating awareness:
It is not a day’s work that shapes the world, it is the work that is put in everyday that does. In our patriarchal society, the gender norms have already created a great divide. To bridge the gap, and control the violence against the subjugated, awareness is of utmost importance. Introduction of sex education in schools would be one of the steps that could increase knowledge. The responsibility of sterilization has somehow fallen into the hands of women, and sterilization camps were shut down in 2011 by the supreme court because of unsafe practices and deaths of women who were not informed of the perils and risks of the procedure they were to endure. Vasectomy is an easier procedure than tubectomy, but due to the taboos that surround male sterilization, this burden is also borne by women. 93% of the sterilizations performed were on women.
The need for awareness on population growth is on an all time high. We must work and educate each other to efficiently put an end on this growing threat.