Introduction: The rising population of India is one of the major problems of the country. The present population of India consists of over 1.21 billion people.
The big population of India undoubtedly provides large work-force resources which, if properly utilized, can highly advance the economic prosperity of the country.
However, a large number of people are poor and illiterate. Their basic need are not being met. Under the existing condition of our economy, it cannot be said that the vast masses of people growing out of proportion to our resources are really an asset to the country.
We have to give more attention to the growth of population and its relation to the problem of unemployment and capital formation in the country.
The abnormal population growth is commonly believed to be one of the principal causes of India’s poverty and very low standard of living for her people.
Efforts are being made in India for improving the economic condition of people but it can bear no fruitful result if population is allowed to growl unchecked.
The national activities in free India are directed to the task of providing adequate means of livelihood to an increasing number of people through an integrated development of agriculture, trade, commerce and industries. The schemes adopted for this purpose cannot materialize unless the population problem is tackled satisfactorily.
However, it is also a fact that we cannot exercise any effective check on population unless there be an appreciable rise in the standard of living for the common people.
Overpopulation weakens the economy in many respects. The increasing pressure of population on natural resources will retard the economic progress and minimize the scope for social services in the form of education, wealth, housing, etc., so essentially needed for a progressive state. Therefore, a planned growth of our economy needs some effective check on population.
The benefits of family planning schemes initiated by the Government are being emphasized in many ways. Nevertheless, it requires persistent propaganda work before public opinion can be fully mobilized for a planned growth of population.
We must make an all-out drive to educate the masses in the methods of family planning. It is a good sign that a section of our people especially those belonging to the middle class are gradually becoming population conscious and are taking active interest in the methods devised and recommended for population control.
Birth rate must be kept within reason able limits to make a definite advance towards a higher standard of living, which is the primary need of India. The task will certainly be much easier if people get a chance of reaching a higher standard of living. It will then by itself serve as a kind of incentive to birth control.
The Census of 1981 placed India’s population at 685 million. In the global context, India accounts for 15% of the world’s total population and 2.4% of the total land area.
In mid-1982 India’s population crossed the 700 million mark. In this way, it became only second to China in the matter of population. India’s total numbers constitute 15 per cent of the total world population.
Population in India increase by 15 million each year. Some experts believe that the number has already crossed 810 million in 1986. We have a fairly high fertility and moderate mortality rate. The birth rate is around 33 and death rate around 12 per thousand.
Infant mortality rate is 104 per thousand live births.
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Our population since 1961 has been increasing at an average annual rate of over two per cent. There has been only a moderate decline in birth rate over this period.
In the decade between 1961-1971 she added more than 100 million (109.1). During 1971-81 the population increased by 135 million. During 1981-91 the population increased by 163 millions.
What about the future growth of India’s population? In India, about 36 per cent of the population is under-fifteen. It means this group will enter the child-bearing years in the next two decades.
Thus India may touch a billion by 2000 A.D. India’s population is currently estimated at well over 950 million. It is estimated that by 2050 A.D. our population would be around 1,300 million.
What are reasons for this runaway growth? A major reason is slow but steady decline in the nation’s death rate. The infant death rate had been very high for many decades. Even today, despite maternal and child health services offered by both central and state governments, the rate is more than 120 per 1000 live births.
The birth rate was around 40-41 per 1,000 births when India became independent in 1947. This was not high as far as birth rates in the Third World went.
During the last three and a half decades because of the large- scale family planning efforts of the Government of India, the birth rate decreased to 35-36 per 1,000.
India’s objective is to over the birth rate to 25 per 1,000 as soon as possible. This can be possible if people do not consider family planning programmers as only a government programme but come forward willingly to cooperate in the matter.
China is another country which is making massive efforts to control population. As against India’s slogan of “Hum Do-Hamare Do” China’s policy-One child is ideal, two are tolerable, but three will bring harsh penalties to the parents.
So serious are the Chinese authorities about promoting one-child families that they are backing up their slogans with huge financial rewards.
The growing population is posing a great threat to the world. It is therefore, necessary that effective steps are taken to control population.
So serious has the problem of population become that population is being introduced as a subject of study in schools.
Ill Effects of Growing Population:
The results of the 1981 census shocked the nation. In just 50 years after Independence our population doubled from 340 million in 1947 to 684 millions in 1981 and now 846 millions in 1991.
At this rate of growth our population is likely to double again after 31 years or so. It would, then be impossible task to satisfy the minimum needs of the people.
The rapid growth of population has very effect on the economy, food, housing, education, health and unemployment problems of the nation. Unless the production rate is much faster than the birth rate, the country will fall short of food.
The economy of the country will go on receiving setbacks with the rapid, growth of population. The prices would rise further if the food and other production is not proportionate.
When the population grows, there are more people and all of them need houses to live in. Thus the housing problem also becomes more acute.
Similarly, in the field of education also, the growing population has an adverse impact. Government would not be able to spend the required amount of money on education and a large number of people will remain illiterate.
Health is of utmost concern to all citizens. In a poor country like India there is already a great shortage of medical facilities. But with the growing population these facilities will further fall short.
More people would not be able to get even basic health care. People will not be able of afford nutritious food and their health would deteriorate. They would suffer and die untimely deaths.
There is already large scale unemployment in the country and with the growth in the population there is bound to be more demand for employment. The situation will be worst. We must, therefore, check the growing population.