Overpopulation in India is an urgent and important issue
Population is rising at an alarming rate in India making overpopulation an urgent and important issue. Indians are ignoring the soon to burst-overpopulation bomb. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged the nation to understand the importance of birth control during his 73rd Independence Day speech last year from the Red Fort. Prime Minister Modi emphasised that population explosion in the country has and will create various problems for the coming generations. There is a need for social awareness in the country. This article is a small initiative to emphasise the impact of overpopulation in India on world population day which falls on July 11.
According to an American Paul Ehrlich, overpopulation is a situation where a population is in the process of depleting non renewable resources. Human overpopulation is when there are too many people for the environment to sustain with food, drinkable water, breathable air etc. Scientists suggest that the overall human impact due to overpopulation on the environment is causing overconsumption, excessive pollution, and proliferation of technology, has pushed the planet into a new geological epoch known as the Anthropocene. With the advancement of science and technology, the mortality rate among humans has reduced significantly and within the last two centuries the population has increased manifolds.
Human resource is the biggest asset but it is becoming a liability to our nation. According to the 1941 census of India, the population of India was nearly 31 crore which since then has increased more than four times since independence. The current population is estimated to be 138 crore. The surface area of Indian land is 2.4 per cent but the Indian population is 18 per cent of the world population. India is the second most populous nation in the world after China.
The over population is exerting an ill impact on the growth of the society and nation with an increasing trend of unemployment, overcrowding of infrastructure and depletion of the natural and manmade resources. The recent emergence of Covid-19 pandemic has further exposed not only the health related problems but other non health related problems of overpopulation. The densely over populated areas are giving nightmares to the administration to contain the Covid-19 infection. Almost half of the population in the Indian metropolitan cities is living in slums. There are dozens of slums which have been illegally built in each metropolitan city of India which are posing a health threat to the humans living there.
Overpopulation is the main cause of pollution of air, water and food which are vital for all living creatures. The overpopulation is causing climate change and climate change is ultimately affecting not only the longevity and existence of the human beings but every other creature on the planet as well. This imbalance is leading to ecological and societal collapse. The impact of overpopulation on mother earth is such that there is a potential risk of mass starvation which may lead to extinction of the human race, as it is believed theoretically.
Modern economics is a competitive economy driven by technological advances where the illiterate and unskilled people aren’t used due to increased mechanisation or least used due to increased industrialisation as it is evident in many poor and developing countries. The increasing trend of unemployment is causing various socio economic problems. Over population is making India a fiercely competitive society and this trend of competition is visible in every field which is the root cause of stress. Stress has been blamed for almost 70 per cent of non-communicable diseases. Diabetes, hypertension, stroke, cardiac problem, insomnia and hormonal disturbance are somehow caused due to stress. If causes of overpopulation are analysed, then it seems that poverty and illiteracy are the main causes of population explosion. According to UN reports (2015) one-fifth of Indians are living below the poverty line and almost one fourth of the Indians are illiterate even after 73 years of independence. The problem of over population is prevalent mainly in poor and developing countries. The illiteracy and poverty are interrelated. Where there is illiteracy, there is poverty and vice versa.
The government is increasing investment in many infrastructure projects. However, in my opinion the investment should be done to develop a better supra structure that is the human brain. Once the brain is developed other things will follow. Many poor countries including ours are giving many subsidies in various sectors but in spite of that the desired result is not being achieved. In spite of spending so much money on such subsidies, India could not achieve what was expected in spite of 73 years of independence.
It is suggested that the government should provide free education and health to each and every citizen of the nation irrespective of the caste, creed, class, gender, region and religion. If this is not possible then at least these two sectors should not work on the principles of business rather they should work on humanitarian and social principles. If it is executed in such a way then the results will be worthwhile and will give far reaching beneficial effects to the nation.
Overpopulation is the root cause of all ills. If one is divided by more than one, then the quotient will be less than one (1/>1=<1). This message should be ingrained in every citizen’s mind that overpopulation is causing depletion of all our natural and manmade resources all over the world. A two baby norm per couple if enacted, with preferably a girl and a boy child, is a sustainable and a very effective way of curbing the population menace and maintaining the sex ratio which will be stationary at each generation.
Overpopulation can be contained and controlled. This can be implemented only by humans. There should be global population policy as efforts of one nation or few nations would not be so impactful. The over-population problem should be approached as a global problem. It is time for all countries to control population in order to have sustainable life on earth without violating the rights of others and wildlife.
There should be a law of two child norm not only in our country but all over the world which is more likely to improve health, education, nutrition of all individuals irrespective of geographical boundaries. Our Prime Minister should take an initiative to work in this direction and once again to prove the Indian dictum of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam” which means the whole world is a family.
(The writer is an orthopaedic surgeon based in Dehradun)
Saturday, 11 July 2020 |Dr BKS Sanjay | Dehradun
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