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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

‘Unbalanced population-growth in India

“Har taraf, har jagah beshumaar aadmi,

Phir bhi tanhaiyan shikar aadmi”  Nida Fazil

Over last few decades Indian population has grown enormously. In 2001 India’s population was102.9 crore, in 2004 108 crore, in 2009 116 crore and expected to be 124 crore by 2020.  Population explosion has already neutralized all the efforts done for economic, infra-structural and social development. Now it is putting more pressure/severe strain on the already over-loaded system, aggravating many problems like poverty, low per capita income, food availability, pressure on land, burden on education, medical care, housing, unemployment, underemployment, rapid depletion of natural resources and environment. It is leading to distress migration within country as well as abroad. It has changed the demographic balance. It has prolonged poverty and misery of millions of people. There is constant pressure on infrastructure and civic services. Electricity and water-supply, sewage and drainage systems are not able to meet the growing demands.  

The present problem is not only of rapid population growth, but also of an unbalanced population growth. Level of education and income has a definite impact on population growth. There seems to be a correlation between the birth rate and literacy. Higher the levels of education lower the birth rate and vice verse. The population growth has been contained amongst educated class. However, the number of poor, illiterate and unproductive hands is continuously increasing.

Women literacy has led to lower birth rate as well as lower infant mortality rate. For example, in Kerala, having cent percent literacy, the birth rate is much lower than UP, Bihar or Rajasthan, where the literacy rate is lower, and the population of agrarian community and poor people is increasing unchecked. They suffer from illiteracy, superstitions, desire of male child, high mortality rate among children, or lack of awareness. They do not consider children as a problem, but an asset and insurance for old age.

It is observed that over decades population of SCs, STs and OBCs has been continuously growing. There appears to be no reason for them to control their population. The protective policies, preferences and allowances under various Welfare Schemes seem to work as incentive for not adopting  family planning measures. Rather they are encouraged to increase their numerical strength for increasing their influence and role in electoral politics.

According to 1991 Census, while the total population in the country, excluding Assam and J&K, grew by 23.79%, it was 30.90% in the case of SC, 25.67% in the case of ST and 22.11% in the case of non-SCT. Region-wise, highest growth rate has been recorded by SC population in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya Mizoram, Orissa and W Bengal. This is followed by ST, followed by Non SC/ST population. In Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tripura, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, ST population followed by SC, followed by NON SC/ST population has recorded highest growth rate. In Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Sikkim, TamilNadu and Daman and Diu, the growth rate is highest among SC population, followed by Non SC/ST, followed by ST population. In Kerala, highest growth rate is among ST population followed by Non SC/ST and then SC population. In Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar and UP the growth rate is highest among Non SC/ST followed by SC and then ST population. The Non – SC/ST growth rate in most populous states like UP and Bihar appears to be mainly due to rapid rise in the population of OBC people.

Though, as per government’s census policy, no published data is available about Backward Class’s population growth, the 1951 Census authorities gave to the First Backward Class Commission, two sets of figures in respect of Backward class population. These were 678.39 lakhs (18.9%) and the other estimated at 20.5% of the total population. In 1956, the Commission raised it to 1135.10 lakhs (31.8%). The Mandal Commission, in 1980, further raised it to 52%. The increase in its number is both due to inclusion of additional castes in the backward list as also due to increase in the birth rate among them. The unbalanced growth is more pronounced in the case of Muslims. The 1991 census reports an increase from 11% in 1951 to 13% in 1990, in respect of Muslim population. The growth of Muslims is higher than any other religious group. The recorded growth in Muslim population shows an increase of 32.78% as against 22.78% in the Hindu population. This increase is again due to increase in birth rate as well as migration.

Though percentwise, unbalanced growth of various sections does not seem much, but in absolute number, it is alarming. Tough competition between different sections for growth has created a gulf between different sections of society, each one pursuing its sectional interests. It gives rise to new equations in power echelons. The wider the gulf, larger the problem for the Government The welfare schemes for such a large population puts an extra economic burden on government.

The problem can not be sorted out by coercive methods. Literacy helps in bringing down fertility substantially among all the sections. People especially poor and marginalized should be encouraged to have a small but happy and healthy family by choice. Attention needs to be paid the problems like high numbers of maternal and infant deaths, by improving the quality of health services, meeting un-met needs of family planning services and linking population programmes with reasonable incentives as well as disincentives for having a large family.

January 17, 2010 Posted by | Social and political values and systems | | 2 Comments

Population Explosion and its unbalanced growth

Population explosion is not that much of a problem as an unbalanced growth of population in India. The unbalanced population growth has created a gulf between different sections of society, each one pursuing its own sectional interests. Wider the gulf, larger the problem for the Government. Such demographic changes have given rise to new equations in power echelons.

In 2001, India’s population was 102.9 crore, in 2004 108 crore, in 2009 it is 116 crore, expected to be 124 crore by 2020. No doubt, population explosion neutralizes all the efforts done for economic, infra-structural and social development. It puts more pressure/severe strain on the already over-loaded system, aggravating many problems like poverty, low per capita income, food availability, pressure on land, burden on education, medical care, housing, unemployment, underemployment, rapid depletion of natural resources and environment. It leads to distress migration. It prolongs poverty and misery to millions of people.

Realizing an urgent need to control the population, the Government of India has launched Family Planning Programs right from the first five-year Plan (1951-56) and is still working on it. The problem still remains severe and uncontrollable. Family planning program is the burning example of how a programs started with good intentions, very soon gets derailed. Instead of solving this burning problem and bringing happiness and prosperity to individual families and ultimately to nation, it has led to change the demographic balance of India. 

The manner, in which family planning measures have been taken in India, led to unbalanced population growth. Initially educated and cultured section of society has, by and large, followed Family Planning measures sincerely. The result was that their population growth has been contained. But lower and ignorant strata of society, agrarian community and poor people never paid much attention to it. They do not consider children as burden. This is primarily true in the case of people, who suffer from illiteracy, superstitions, desire of male child, lack of awareness and have high mortality rate among children. To them children are an asset and insurance for old age – the more the merrier.

Though the percentage of poor, illiterate and unemployable people in official figures is coming down continuously, their absolute number is alarmingly increasing. The problem can not be sorted out by coercive methods as was done after Emergency in late seventies. Lucrative incentives should be given to poor and marginalized to have a small but happy and healthy family by choice.

However, protective policies, preferences and allowances given to downtrodden under various Welfare Schemes seem to work as incentives for having as many children as possible. It gives officially declared backward castes encouragement to increase their numerical strength, as it widens their social circle and increases their influence/role in electoral politics. The welfare schemes for such a large population puts a heavy economic burden on government as well as on tax-payers.

There should be dis-intensives for having a large family. Attention needs to be paid their problems like high numbers of maternal and infant deaths by improving the quality of health services and linking population programmes with other incentives.

Countries like Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea etc. which took inspiration from India and started similar programs, much later than India, have already stabilized their population growth.

 

September 25, 2009 Posted by | Social and political values and systems | | Leave a comment

   

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