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Sansad TV: Perspective- The Population Paradox

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Introduction:

It took hundreds of thousands of years for the world population to grow to 1 billion and then it grew seven times in just another 200 years or so. The global population reached the 7 billion mark in 2011 and it is all set to cross 8 Billion this year. This number is expected to grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and around 11 billion in 2100. This dramatic growth has been driven largely by increasing numbers of people surviving to reproductive age, major changes in fertility rates, increasing urbanization and accelerating migration. Around Sixty-one per cent of the global population lives in Asia with China and India being the two most populous countries of the world. In fact India is projected to overtake China by 2027 in terms of population numbers. More than half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa. However the populations of 55 countries in the world with most of them in European continent are expected to decrease by 2050, of which 26 may see a reduction of at least ten per cent.

Basics:

  • Population explosion is the sudden increase in the numbers of individuals in a community.
  • Lately we have been facing population explosion in many countries of the world. In the past 200-300 years, the world’s population has increased tremendously.
  • It is predicted that human population will increase by 1 billion in the next decade.
  • Population explosion results mainly due to difference between birth rates and death rates.
  • Whereas many people look at the population explosion as a problem or have negative perspective about it, several people also look at it as an huge opportunity for a nation to achieve it’s ambitions.

Challenges:

  • TFR varies significantly across the socio-economic groups, it is concentrated among economically weaker section of the society which has implications on our SDGs, poverty, hunger, malnutrition, health, education etc.
  • Jobs are not created at the rate it should be and growth is uneven.
  • We have short window of opportunity, it is important to nurture and exploit this population growth to the best economic advantages is a challenge.
  • Challenge is how we raise India’s economic status from being low middle country to atleast high middle income.
  • Share of older people is rising rapidly, growth for older people is 70% from now to 2050 but total population is growing only by 56%.
  • The aspiration of the women and families have changed with time, they now want fewer children but lack access to family planning. This is evident from one report which says that there is 13% unwanted fertility in India.
  • Real challenge is quality of life, 21% of 60 plus population is suffering from chronic morbidities.
  • Unequal rate of population growth among states.

Way Forward:

  • It is very necessary to create growth momentum, investment should be adequately made in key infrastructure areas, social infrastructure and that to particularly education, water, and health.
  • Family planning is a preventive measure in bringing down maternal and child mortality rate.
  • China and Japan have controlled their population by various measures, the same can be adopted by us according to our suitability.
  • Proper healthcare facilities to women, education to girl child.

Conclusion:

  • Analysts believe that India’s growing population can be a double-edged swordand the country needs to put in place the right policies to maximize the potential of its people by enhancing the state of education, health and infrastructure, so that India figures at better in various human development rankings.
  • It is imperative that policy-makers deal with the situation on multiple fronts.
  • Universal education, value-added skills accretion and massive growth in employment in the formal sectors should be the key focus areas.
  • Unfulfilled aspirations of the youth can quickly turn to frustration, leading to violent outbursts. There is also a need to engage with the youth and create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship.
  • Failure to do so would not just mean a missed opportunity in terms of harnessing the demographic dividend, but the ensuing rise in unemployment and poverty could undermine the advances made on the economic front and foment societal upheaval.

 

SANSAD TV 4-8-23