-By Prudhvi Raj Madhu
India, with 1.37 billion people, is the second-most populous country in the world.
A report from the United Nations released in June 20191 had said that around 2027 India is set to overtake China as the world’s most populous country.
Excessive population has various adverse effects including undue pressure on natural resources. More people mean more consumption which in turn means more exploitation of fixed and exhaustible resources. Also population is not a universal challenge. It is specific to nations whose economies have yet not achieved full potential and development. Along with China and India, the African and some Latin countries also see an extremely high population growth rate. Rather China, which is the most populated nation, has achieved a very appreciative control over their growth of population though their ways are highly autocratic and cannot be replicated in other countries.
We know that the birth rate is mainly responsible for rapid population growth. Hence measures which can reduce the birth rate should be adopted. These measures can be classified into 3 categories.
- Social Measures
- Minimum age of marriage: The problem of child marriage is highly prominent in certain countries with high population like India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. A marriage at a tender age leads to a long span for giving birth. Also young age marriage devoid people of the education and awareness required to be sensitive towards and understand the consequences of raising too many children.
- Raising the status of women: There is still discrimination to the women. They are confined to four walls of the house. They are still confined to rearing and bearing children. So women should be given opportunities to develop socially and economically. Free education should be given to them.
- Spread of Education: The spread of education changes the outlook of people. The educated men prefer to delay marriage and adopt small family norms. Educated women are health conscious and avoid frequent pregnancies and thus help in lowering birth rate.
- Adoption: Some parents do not have any child, despite costly medical treatment. It is advisable that they should adopt orphan children. It will be beneficial to orphan children and children couples. Government should also provide incentives for adopting.
- Social Security: More and more people should be covered under-social security schemes. So that they do not depend upon others in the event of old age, sickness, unemployment etc. with these facilities they will have no desire for more children.
- Economic Measures
- More employment opportunities: The first and foremost measure is to raise employment avenues in rural as well as urban areas. Generally in rural areas there is disguised unemployment. So efforts should be made to migrate unemployed persons from the rural side to the urban side. When their income is increased they would improve their standard of living and adopt small family norms. Another method to check the population is to provide employment to women. Women should be given incentive to give services in different fields. Women are taking an active part in competitive examinations. As a result their number in teaching, medical and banking etc. is increasing rapidly.
- Providing incentives: Incentives have proved to be an efficient policy measure in combating most development issues including population. Providing a health, educational or even financial incentive can be a highly effective population measure. There are certain incentive policies like paying certain money to people with not more than two kids or free or discounted education for single children etc. which are in place in most developing countries facing population related challenges and has also proved to be a useful measure.
- Other Measures
- Medical Facilities: One big drawback of developing countries is that of limited and highly centric medical facilities. Because of the high rural-urban divide in developing countries, availability of good hospitals and doctors is limited to urban centers thus resulting in high infant mortality rate in rural areas. Rural people, in order to ensure that at least some of their kids survive, give birth to more and more kids thus contributing to the population growth. If provided with optimum medical facilities population rate will almost certainly decline.
- Legislative Actions: Not much result can be achieved from these if family planning and use of contraception remains optional instead of mandatory. Strict legal steps are required for child marriage, education, abolition of child labor and beggary and family planning to reap significant benefits from it. Proper enforcement of laws related to child labour, slavery and beggary will ensure that parents don’t sell their children or send them out to work thus forcing them to raise lesser number of kids.
- Recreational Facilities: Birth rate will likely to fall if there are different recreational facilities like cinema; theatre, sports and dance etc. are available to the people.
- Spreading awareness: People need to be told and made to understand the consequences of having too many children. Government and non-government institutions can carry awareness campaigns informing people how they will be unable to provide good nutrition, education or medical facilities to their children if they have too many. Population is also a reason for illiteracy and diseases and malnutrition and the negative effects of it are required to be communicated to the general public to expand their reasoning and understanding.
In brief, by taking all these measures we can control the growth of the population.