“A finite world can support only a finite population; therefore, population growth must eventually equal zero”. – Garrett Hardin.
There are over 135 crore people in India and this fast-growing population is one of the barriers to its economic success. The existing population cannot be reduced, but the rate of population growth can be slowed down. The unexpected onset of the pandemic has served as a wake-up call as to where we stand in relation to our resources and the people who rely on them. The spread of the lethal virus, as well as the subsequent economic collapse, have demonstrated that we have failed as a country. It is not because of government policies or ineptitude, but because of the country’s enormous population. The lockdown has resulted in a large number of unskilled workers migrating to towns and cities in search of a more active lifestyle. It’s not that the government doesn’t want to do something; it’s just that they’re not sure how much infrastructure they should build with their limited resources. India is home to approximately 16% of the world’s total population but only has 2.4% of the world’s total land area. India’s population is expected to reach 1.69 billion in 2050, which is more than China’s forecasted 1.31 billion in the same year. China, being a communist government, chose a one-child policy to curb its population growth, which was widely criticized as being inhumane and violating human dignity and rights. As a result, in 2016, they implemented a two-child policy, under which government subsidies and benefits will only be awarded to the family’s first two children. According to a report by the East India Forum, these efforts have reduced China’s population by up to 400 million people.
Ramifications of a large population
“By improving health, empowering women, population growth comes down.” – Bill Gates.
The excessively large population would be perplexing for our country, resulting in a high crime rate, fouling the social fabric, causing turmoil in the entire administration, and therefore cascading significant problems, burdening the government and our limited resources. As a result, population control legislation becomes necessary in the national interest. But democracy will not work only with a one-way coercive program to stabilize the population to control their fertility. As a result, in addition to the law, our education system must be adapted to enable the general public to think independently about the advantages of a small family. Female education is also beneficial for population control because educated women can be the guardians of their families’ size and health. Coercive population control techniques will exacerbate the situation of women without female literacy. It may also result in female infanticide.
Also, Poverty, corruption, and population are intimately linked. It has a negative impact on the government’s Primary Health Care Programs and interrupts medical services that serve the poor. A population boom sets in motion a chain reaction of social, economic, and political issues. People who are illiterate and uninformed of the dangers of a rapidly growing population. They don’t even know about different family planning modes. And India is the third country in the world and the one who are literate most of them earlier (Changing with every passing day) believe the necessity to have a male child which can continue their family lineage. Apart from them, there is a group of people who are adamant that “birth control is against their beliefs.” A child is a gift from God, and using birth control is a sin. They are unconcerned about the quality of life and lack a feeling of social duty, necessitating the passage of a population control law in the national interest. They don’t share a goal to improve social and economic conditions. Overcrowding is producing more issues. Medical conditions are deteriorating, and diseases are spreading at an increasing rate. A growing number of Indians are living in poverty. A larger family means higher costs and lower savings, which few people would choose in today’s fast-paced world of cutthroat competition. “When the family is small, whatever little they have they are able to share. There is peace.” – Philip Njuguna. Unfortunately, the development of infrastructure facilities is not keeping up with the population increase. A large portion of the funds is used to meet the fundamental requirements. As a result, there is a scarcity of transportation, communication, housing, education, and healthcare, among other things. The army of unemployed youths of working age grows as a result of unwelcome population expansion. In these epidemic times, the problem has become even more alarming. Consider this: at a time when people are losing jobs and firms and small businesses are closing down, does the government help the existing workers so that they can support their families, or the thousands of teenagers, both skilled and unskilled, who are joining the unemployed army?
There are very few employment opportunities for both educated and unskilled individuals in their area of residence. As a result, they relocate to cities and towns in quest of work. As a result, towns and cities have become overcrowded, deteriorating living conditions and causing socioeconomic and environmental issues. The slight rise in national income that has occurred as a result of planned economic expansion has been eaten away by population growth. As the world’s population continues to grow, deforestation and biodiversity loss are also two of the most significant threats. Every year, thousands of acres of forest and non-forest land are turned into concrete jungles to suit housing demands. And the loss of forest cover contributes directly to climate change. The country’s food security is threatened by the combined effects of population growth and climate change. The world is currently working to solve climate change by reducing carbon footprints through better technology and controlled utilization of natural resources. However, an unchecked population increase will jeopardize these efforts. Farming becomes more difficult with every additional mouth to feed. Agriculture is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. To combat climate change, we need more than just smaller carbon footprints. After fossil fuels are depleted, a society with less demand for natural resources, including fossil fuels, will be healthier and more stable.
Every one of us must be aware of the issues at hand and demand immediate action. To propel the country to greater heights, all that’s needed now is strict population control norms, which would divert funds that would otherwise be used for basic needs to other economic activities.
Current draft bill
That is the reason Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populated state, has stated that it aims to curb population growth in order to foster long-term development with more equitable distribution. The state’s BJP government has put out a proposal that aims to discourage couples from having more than two children while rewarding those who only have one. On World Population Day, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath released the draft bill for the Uttar Pradesh Population Policy 2021-2030. Several incentives are announced in the proposed policy for parents who follow the two-child policy or have only one child.
The incentives are like Two additional increments during the entire service, preference to a single child in government jobs, rebate on charges for utilities such as water, electricity, house tax, free health care facility, and insurance coverage to the single child till he attains the age of twenty years, etc. Also, they provide various disincentives like being debarred from the benefit of government-sponsored warfare schemes, a bar on applying for government jobs, a bar on contesting election to the local body, a bar on receiving any kind of government subsidy, etc. In any case, the UP’s draft population control strategy has reignited the controversy over the two-child restriction. The terms of the proposed legislation, named “The Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization, and Welfare) Bill, 2021,” will take effect one year after it is published in the Gazette if it is adopted. The public can make suggestions on the draft bill until July 19.
As a result, the need for such legislation is becoming increasingly urgent in order to deal with decreasing resources and a variety of other factors that cannot be overlooked, all of which contribute to a more sustainable environment.