Population Explosion In India
India is the second-most populous country in the world and a developing nation by economic status, India cannot afford to bear the ever-increasing pressure of her population. A developing country like India is already facing a lack of resources which is because of the increasing population and leads to poverty, malnutrition and other problems.
India and China are the two most populous countries in the world, India has approximately 1.36 billion inhabitants in 2019. China and India together account for 36.28% of the total world population. Due to the higher rate of population growth in India, the margin between the two countries is coming down quickly. India has a population growth rate of 1.11% while China has 0.39%. At this rate, after a few years, India will likely to have more population than China.
In term of area, China is 4th and India is 7th largest country, hence India is 2.96 times denser than China. India’s landmass area is 3.287 million square km and density of population is 382 per square km, while China has a dense population of 152 per square km. India’s population composition in 2019 says 29 percent of the country’s population was in the age bracket of 0-14 years and 67 percent was in the age bracket of 15-64, and only 6 percent of the country’s population was at the age of 65 and above.
In earlier times population was considered to be an asset, as there was a need for people to join defense forces or to take an active part in various other types of work. But this boon turned out to be a bane after the population crossed the 600 million mark, the increasing population has caused serious problems in every sphere.
Some of the main reasons for the increase in population were Birth rate increase due to poverty. Poverty is the main reason for the increase in India’s population as poor people struggle to make the ends meet and produce more children because more children’s means more earning hands. A large number of children are born among the poor sections of the society. One can see hundreds of children in the slum areas living in extreme poverty.
The second main cause of the increase in birth rate is Traditions, beliefs, and Culture. Indian family prefers to have a son than a daughter, as a result, a lot of families have more children than they actually afford. This has also led to an alarming increase in female infanticide resulting in the falling sex ratio. Also according to our cultural norm, girls are married early and there was a practice of child marriage in early India. As being young these girls have more potential of bearing children and will have more children than what they can afford.
The third main factor is the decrease in the Death rate due to improvement in medical facilities. India has a higher birth rate with a relatively low death rate. The 2001 Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in the country dropped from 488 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1994 to 174 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015. There are several factors that have brought down the death rate like the elimination of famines, control of epidemics, successful treatment of deadly diseases, like malaria, tuberculosis, etc.
Migration plays a very little role in affecting the population as there are only 0.08 migrants per 1000 population. While the migration of people from bordering states like North-east, Rajasthan, Jammu, and Kashmir, etc takes place.
The most important cause for the uncontrolled growth of the population is illiteracy. Illiteracy is the root cause of the slow pace of success of the family planning movement. Uneducated people believe that more children mean more hands to add to the family income. Education leads to awareness and in turn, will check population growth.
Overpopulation has given rise to various problems. Food production is low as compared to the growing population, and the number of unemployed people has increased to an alarming level. This has resulted in the migration of people from the village to cities and towns in search of work.
Our resources are limited and non-renewable resources of energy are exhaustible. These resources like coal, petroleum, wood, etc. may get exhausted very soon if the population goes on increasing rapidly. The water level has gone down. At some places, the hope of getting water at even 200 feet below the ground level is feeble. Overpopulation has also led to pollution and can cause chronic diseases.
Trees are cut down to meet the rising need for space for the growing population. this poses a threat to our environment. there is an acute shortage of space in crowded cities. People are forced to live by the roadside in a small hut made of plastic covers and husk. Terrorism and an increase in the rate of crime are also the results of population explosion.
A significant drop in the population growth of India’s most backward states is driving the sharpest ever decline in the country’s population growth rates. For the last 30 years, India’s eight most backward states are Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Orissa have grown at a constant rate, increasing their populations by a fourth every 10 years. For the first time, growth rates have sharply dropped by over 4 percent in these states. In fact, population growth has dropped faster in these eight states than in better-off states.
This contribution to an all-India population growth rate of less than 18 percent over the last 10 years. India’s growth rate declined by almost four percentage points as compared to the previous decade, the sharpest decline ever in any decade. Overall fertility is declining, not only is the rate of growth of the population of children under the age of six dropping, the absolute numbers have dropped by 5 million to 159 million, or 13 percent of the population.
The government can, however, take heart from the fact that there are reports of a decline in population growth rate in a decade. The literacy rate is increasing, the sex ratio is increasing except in states like Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, and Bihar. Steps should be taken by the government to make India a fully literate state and family planning programs should be undertaken more effectively.
The government should provide incentives to citizens to adopt the small family norm. Free schooling and medical aid for children should be provided to parents who adopt family planning, and consciousness should be brought to increase the awareness of the people for family planning.
The people and the NGOs should work with the government to check the population explosion. We have existing policy and initiatives but there has to be drastic enforcement of these policies.
Suggested Read: World Population Day