They have grown both vertically and horizontally. Like there has been a substantial growth in population, crossing the one billion mark. Life has become miserable with the crowding syndrome everywhere. There are queues everywhere, even for getting forms for admissions to a nursery school.
The cities simply can not cope with the growing number of people. Millions live in slums, thousands of migrants sleep on pavements and under flyovers. Crimes thrive in the anonymity of amorphous cities. The women have no safety either during the day or night.
There is filth around you and growing pollution of the air and water. Noise pollution gets on your nerves and more the vehicles on the roads, the slower your mobility with traffic snarls.
Life becomes a burden hanging around your neck like a milestone. You want to get out of it and settle down in quiet village, but you can’t. Alarming rise in population has neutralised the fruits of development.
India’s population as a March 1, 2001 stood at 1,027 million, the country accounts 2.4 per cent of the world surface area of 135.79 million square km. yet it supports and sustains a whopping 16.7 per cent of the world population.
The population of India which at the turn of the twentieth century was around 238.4 million registered four fold increases to 1,027 million at the dawn of 21st century.
Since the growth of population varies from region to region in the country, no single magic formula will work for tackling the population problem for the whole county.
The per cent decadal growth of population in the inter-censual period 1991 -2001 varies from a low of 9.42 in Kerala to very high 64.4% in Nagaland. The most populated state is Uttar Pradesh with a population of 16, 60, and 52,859 while Sikkim has the lowest population among the states 10, 91, 17
Thomas Malthus argued in the late 1700s ‘The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power of earth to produce substance for men.”
The simple statement means that the human populations will always exceed the limits of the earth to support it, leading to famine, epidemics and human conflict any effort to alternate the situation with some kind of ‘charity or assistance simply leads to more people eventually suffering.”
We live in resource rich but poor country due to non-exploitation of available resources with high population density, the threat is posed by population explosion and the steps to avert it.
Population stablisation is an essential prerequisite for sustainability of development process so that the benefits of economic development result in the enhancement of well being of the people and improvement in the quality of life.
India became the first country in the world to formulate a National Family Planning Programme way back in 1952, with the objective of reducing birth rate to the extent necessary to stabilise the population to a level consistent with national economy.”
The centrally sponsored and 100% centrally funded Family Welfare Programme provides for infrastructure, manpower and consumables needed for improving health status of women and children and to meet all the felt needs for fertility regulation.
The technological advances and improved quality along with coverage of health care have resulted in a rapid fall in a crude death rate (CDR) from 25.1 per cent in 1951 to 9.8 per cent 1991 in contrast, the reduction in crude birth rate (CBR) has been less increasing from to 8 per cent in 1951 to 29.5 per cent in 1991. As a result, annual exponential population growth rate has never been over 2 per cent in the last three decades.
The National Family Health Survey indicated that in 1992-93 (a) 40.6 per cent currently married women used contraceptive and (b) awareness about contraceptive was universal.
States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu achieved low CBR (Crude Birth Rate) and IMR (Infant Mortality Rate) at relatively low cost. On the one hand states like Haryana and Punjab have not achieved any substantial reduction in CBR. In States like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the expenditure is low and performance is poor.
Sterilization is the most commonly used method of contraception in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and both these states have been able to achieve Total Fertility Rate of 2.1 Given the fact that the most couples complete their family by the time they are in their mid 20s and that marriage is a socially stable institutions, sterlisation is the most logical, safe and cost effective contraception technique to protect the young couple against unwanted procreation.
Accordingly, the Government and NGOs have to adopt an area specific approach based on obtaining cultural and socio economic situation. One has to study the socio-economic dynamic of each state. One can not obviously use the same yardstick for state with different background.
There are several extraneous factors like high status of women, female literacy age at marriage and low infant mortality that have contributed to the decline of birth rate in Kerala despite the comparatively lower per capita income of the state.
It follows that there cannot be a uniform recipe for the higher birth rate phenomenon in other states. All the same, the success of family welfare depends on the overall states of women their literacy, the overall health status and general motivation.
In regions where the infant mortality is high, birth rate too remains higher. Parents who get obsessed with child survival are reluctant to take to family planning methods. Child mortality incidence goes up where the health case infrastructure is rudimentary.
The whole issue of family welfare is inter-connected; more supply of contraceptive will not achieve the desired result. What is required is a holistic approach. Lower birth is linked to safe motherhood, child survival and health education of women and sound infrastructure.
Population control should mean the high consideration among the’ priorities. We have delayed enough. Each state population commission should size up the problem in the state in its entirety and consult the central agencies.
Population control should be treated as a mass, movement that should involve not merely the government agencies, but the entire society, the universities, NGOs, labour human women’s organisations, corporate, local bodies and on top of all the media.
The population bomb is ticking. Any delay in defusing it on time could bring about national disaster of unprecedented proportions.