22 Nov 2007

Population upsurge in India: Heightening tensions

With 17.52% of the world population, India ranks the second in the world in terms of population it supports. But surprising, the population density is just 336 persons per square kilometer, which ranks India 23rd in the world. Still, that is a huge number to plan and provide for. With the population growth rate maintaining a steady tandem, these figures do not bring out the true situation. Apprehensions regarding food crisis, water shortage,malnutrition, governance, etc. have already been predicted by institutions and experts the world. With this, the other side of the world is facing population decline. Seems like Asians will out-flood the world with their inhabitants.

But seriously, what are we doing to deal with the problem. As a member of the National Commission on Population puts it, this is not a problem with a push button situation. As one may find, there are a number of working groups on the issue of population, but no one really seems to be concerned with the abysmal fact of such abruptly rising population. [To find the current Indian population, click here]

What policies have we in force? The slogan of "Hum do hamare do" seems to be age old and out of place. With democratic values in place and freedom of mind and enterprise, national perceptions can really not be imposed on anyone unless one choses them by choice. So where do we stand? We cannot borrow the policies which other countries follow for; we really cannot impose sanctions to implement a one-child policy; nor can be persecute people out of India; we also cannot support genocide by way of terrorism of otherwise (anyone reminded of Godhra?) Plus, these are extreme measures, the necessity of which has not yet arisen :)

It seems the only option is to give incentives to have less number of children and thus promote this idea of self-conscious and matured thinking in this looming crisis of tomorrow. The problem arises from the lack of awareness and approach to the issue, with most of the states lagging behind in treating this as an item of heightened policy importance. Disqualification of those having more children than a stipulated norm from public positions may well be something which has been held legal by the Supreme Court but again this has been infamed as a gender insensitive move and what not!!! Moreover, disqualification from public posts does not seem to be a huge measure to deal with the problem.

Definitely I am not an expert on population control or management and so I am not going to poke my nose in that area, but I just want my country to be great, rising and shining for ever [ :) ] and so I wish that problems like this are solved on a priority basis and so I care for them. Hope the policy makers will open their eyes and ears to it and give it a shot ...

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