The world will not be the same after the Covid-19 pandemic. Health, education and nutrition are the fundamental need of any individual. Considering the socio- economic and geo-political status in India, a large chunk of these three things are in the private hands where work is on the principle of business and hence, they are expensive and out of the reach of common citizens.
Employment in India is unplanned and unorganised, because of which the society is facing many problems. If we want to improve the status of health, education and nutrition then first we have to bring the growth of population under control. Over population is exacerbating the competition for availing the resources whether natural or man-made. As such almost all resources are limited and this is making the society very competitive and greedy. This competition is leading to the abuse of natural resources which is causing an imbalance in the ecology. The needs for survival are forcing the humans towards destruction of the forests and depletion other natural resources.
To fulfill the growing demand of the population, there has been rapid urbanisation and industrialisation which are the main cause of climate change and global warming. Climate change is causing multiple natural calamities around the world, the incidence of which is becoming more common every year and causing ecological and human loss.
Novel Coronavirus infection has given a wakeup call to the whole world but particularly to the countries which are over populated, over crowed and having poor health infrastructure.
As we know there is no specific treatment for Covid-19 infection but social distancing and isolation has been proved an effective way to prevent it. But is it really possible to maintain social distancing in majority of our families at home or at work in our overpopulated country? It is practically impossible as a significant number of citizens are living in sub-standard conditions where almost 8-10 people are living in small 10×10 feet accommodation due to poverty.
According to a media report, almost a million people are living in just little over 2 square kilometre area of Dharavi, Mumbai which is one of the most densely populated localities in the world. Dharavi has suffered in the past as well with many epidemics, including 1896 plague, which killed over half the population of Mumbai. Will history repeat itself during the current Covid-19 pandemic?
Maharashtra is one of the most Covid-19 affected states and the task of containing the contagion is proving to be a major challenge for the administration. Reports suggest that the administration is finding it difficult to sanitise the various narrow lanes of Dharavi and facing problems in contact tracing and surveillance in the crowded locality of Dharavi. It is not the only slum in India but there are dozens of slums which have been illegally built up in each metropolitan cities of India which are posing the health threat to the humans living there.
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.
Over population is the root cause of all ills. We feel that awareness about the consequences of over-population needs to be re-emphasised to the public, influential policy makers and religious preachers to bring grassroot changes in the way we think about procreation. As we know if one is divided by more than one, then, the quotient will be less than one. This applies to all our resources as well. This message should be ingrained in the citizen’s mind that over population is causing depletion of all our natural and man-made resources all over the world.
There should be multipronged approach to control the population with government and public participation without any suspicion. As such, many ways are being practiced to control the population.
The concept of one baby norm is good to control over population at the subsequent generations but the drawback with one baby principle is that population will be half in each generation. The population will be one-fourth after two generations as it is being seen in many European countries where the population is in negative growth.
If we analyse the difference between one and two baby per couple norm, then the principle of two baby norms is sustainable and a very effective way of curbing the population and maintaining the population which will be stationary at each generation. Having a girl and a boy in the family will help in maintaining the sex ratio which will help equalizing the current imbalance in many states due to which there is disarray in the framework of the society. As our government policy to control the population is based on the concept of voluntary family planning, it has not given the results needed to curb the growth of the population. There should be a law which should be strictly enforced and monitored to ensure that there are no more than two babies in any family. Once the population is controlled then other things will gradually change as well. There will be progress of both individuals as well as that of the nation.
There should be a law of two child norm not only in our country but all over the world which is 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 prove the Indian dictum of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam” which means the whole world is a family.
(The authors are orthopaedic surgeons based in Dehradun)
Friday, 22 May 2020 | Dr BKS Sanjay & Dr Gaurav Sanjay | Dehradun