Population Growth in India
- Population growth in India is not uniform. The data from the National Family Health Survey (NHFS) shows that the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is different across various wealth quintiles.
- TFR is 3.2 children per women among the poorest wealth quintiles.
- TFR is 2.5 children per women in the second-lowest wealth quintile.
- TFR is 1.5 children per women among the richest wealth quintiles.
This shows that population growth is more in economically weak weaker section of the society.
Impact of Overpopulation
- Overpopulation acts as a hurdle in addressing the problem of poverty, hunger and malnutrition. It is a major obstacle in providing a better quality of education and health.
- It is the major reason for unemployment in the country. Currently, India is producing around 25 million job seekers in the country. However, the country is able to provide jobs to only 7 million, and after the COVID-19 pandemic, this situation is worsening. Economic activities are on halt; people are losing their jobs, new jobs are not producing in the market, increasing the burden of unemployment and underemployment in the country, turning a demographic dividend into a demographic disaster.
- SDGs 1,2,3 and 4 are going to be affected adversely because if India’s existing pattern of growth in the population.
- India and China are the two most populous countries in the world. China’s population is more than India, but at the same time, we can see India is only 35-40% of China’s landmass. India does not have another landmass to occupy, and the available landmass cannot take this population growth.
Challenges of Overpopulation for India
- The challenge for Government is not to contain the population but to find the innovative ways to use the population growth to its best economic advantage. The challenge is to train a large young population to make it productive, effective, competent and contributing to the economic growth. For this, the Government need to take effective measures by making more investment in areas like education, water and sanitation, health, etc.
- Another challenge is ensuring the quality of life for its citizens as 21% of 60 plus population of India is suffering from one or another chronic morbidity. India is the second-highest in terms of dementia and Alzheimers. That’s why there is a need for a strong social protection scheme for this section of society.
- Ayushman Bharat scheme is one of the measures taken by the Government for the welfare of citizens, especially elders. The Government has also set the target to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024. This is very important to mitigate the negative impact of overpopulation, where the share of older people is rising rapidly.
- The growth of older people is 370% from 2019 to 2050, where the total population is growing at a rate of 56%. That’s why it is more important for the Government to take effective measures to deal with this situation.
- Other countries like Japan and China have also gone through this phase and successfully controlled their population growth and have taken effective measures to manage people in older age through social security provisions.
- The challenges are different for all the states as the population growth rate in all states is not similar. Some states have a higher population growth rate than others; for example, southern states have lower population growth rate as compared with Northern states.
Can India adopt a one-child policy like China?
China is very successful in decreasing its population growth through its one-child policy. But this policy has its own challenges. China which had the One Child Policy, has witnessed an increase in the population of old aged people.
- India needs to invest more in the health sector. Currently, India invests only 1.3% of India GDP in this sector.
- Family planning budget is only 4% of the entire health budget, and within that India spends only 1.5% on birth spacing methods.
- Role of Education
- Education plays an important role not only in women empowerment but also in a decline in population growth rate.
- Education must be made free for women until she completes her graduation.
- Better education for women will help her to make better decisions for family planning.
- Economic independent women can only bring down fertility rates. Therefore policies must be made to increase women participation in development in the economy.
- India can achieve a number of SDGs if it links them with family planning. Family planning is a promotive and preventive method for bringing down maternal mortality and child mortality.
- It is important to see the issue of population growth not only from the national perspective but also from the state’s point of view, i.e. different states need to be encouraged to take necessary steps for containing the population.
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