Short essay on Population

Ask anyone living in big metropolitan cities from the 1950s to compare the quality of life then and now. He will roll out to you the entire panorama of the paradises of sorts in which he lived more than half a century ago to the virtual hell into which he has been dumped today. Jobs could be had for the asking. Healthy minds and healthy bodies with no queues anywhere.

Take, for example, New Delhi with just five lakh population at the time of Independence. Tongas used to ply on the Parliament Street. You could have your stomach fill with just a rupee or even less and even in the 1960s you could have the popular Coca Cola for just 25 paise a bottle, a two-bedroom accommodation for just Rs. 150, admission to a nursery class without any interview. Every sort of local transportation were very cheap.

And now! It is Paradise Lost. The big cities has grown both vertically and horizontally. Likewise, there has been a substantial growth in population. Life has become miserable with the crowding syndrome everywhere. There are queues everywhere, even for getting forms for admission to a nursery school. The cities cannot simply cope up with the growing number of people. Millions live in slums, thousands of migrants sleep on pavements and under flyovers. Crimes thrive in the anonymity of the amorphous cities. There is growing alienation and women have no safety either during the day or night.

There is filth all around and growing pollution of the air and water, Noise pollution gets , population on your nerves and more the vehicles on the roads, the slower your mobility with traffic snarls. Life becomes a burden hanging around your neck like a millstone. You want to get out of it and settle down in a quiet village, but you can't. Alarming rise in population has neutralised the fruits of development.

There are 23 million-plus cities across the country, according to the 1991 census.

India's population as on March 1, 2001 stood at 1,027 million: the country accounts for a meager 2.4 per cent of the world surface area of 135.79 million sq. km, yet it supports and sustains a whopping 16.7 per cent of the world population. The population of India, which at the turn of 20th century was around 238.4 million registered an over four-fold increase to 1,027 million at the dawn of the 21st century.

Since the growth of population varies from region to region in the country, no single magic formula will work for tackling the population problem for the whole country. The per cent decadel growth of population in the inter_ censal period 1991-2001 variea from a low of 9.42 in Kerala to a very height 64.41 in Nagaland. Delhi with 46.31 per cent, Chandigarh with 40.33 per cent and Sikkim with 32.98 per cent registered very high growth rates.

In addition to Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh registered to the previous census decade in all the States & Union Territories except Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Sikkim Nagaland, Manipur, Gujarat, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Among the States, the most populous State is Uttar Pradesh with population of 16,60,52,859 while Arunachal Pradesh' has the lowest population among the States-10,91,117. Among the Union Territories, Pondicherry has a population of 9,73,829 while Lakshadweep has a population of just 60,595.

Thomas Malthus argued in the late 1700s: "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man". This simple statement means that the human population will always exceed the limits of the earth to support it, leading to famine, epidemics, and human conflict. Any effort to alleviate the situation with some kind of charity or assistance, simply leads to more people eventually suffering."

Living in a resource-rich but poor country due to non-exploitation of available resources with high population density, the Planners recognised in the census figures of 1951, the potential threat posed by population explosion and the need to take steps to avert it. It was recognised that population stabilisation is an essential prerequisite for sustainability of development process so that the benefits of economic development result in the enhancement of well being of the people and improvement in the quality of life, j

India became the first country in the world to formulate a National Family Planning Programme way back in 1952 with the objective of "reducing birth rate to the extent necessary to stabilise the population at a level consistent with requirement of national economy".

The Centrally sponsored ad 100% Centrally- funded Family Welfare Programme provides additional infrastructure, manpower and consumable needed for improving health status of women and children and to meet all the felt needs for fertility regulation.

The National Family Health Survey indicated that 40.6 per cent of currently married women used contraceptives and awareness about contraceptives was universal, showing that the efforts at enlightening the people on the small family norm had succeeded in reaching the targeted population.

In spite of the uniform national norms set under the 100 per cent Centrally-funded Sponsored Scheme, there are substantial differences in the performance between States as assessed by IMR (Infant Mortality Rate and CBR (crude birth rate). At one end of the spectrum is Kerala with mortality and fertility rates nearly similar to those in some of the developed countries, while at the other end, there are four large northern States (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Prades/i) with high IMR and fertility rales earnings for themselves the epiter of 'BIMARU' States because of comparatively poor development is a result of over-population.

State like Kerala and Tamil Nadu have achieved low CBR and IMR at relatively low cost. On the other hand, States like Haryana and Punjab have not achieved any substantial reduction in CBR in spite of high expenditure per eligible couple, according to the Plan document. In States like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the expenditure is low and performance is poor.

Sterlisation is the most commonly used method of contraception in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and both these States have been able to achieve Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 2.1. Given the fact that most couples in India complete their family by the time they are in their mid-20s and that marriage is a socially stable institution, sterilisation is the most logical, safe and cost-effective contraception technique to protect the young couple against unwanted pregnancies.

The Indian experience has shown that despite low per capita income it is possible to achieve TFR of 2.1 Conversely, higher per capita income alone may not be sufficient to achieve the desired fertility rate. In other words, in the Indian context, economic development and increase in per capita income are not the only essential prerequisites for achieving reduction in fertility. There are several extraneous factors like high status of women, female literacy, age at marriage and low infant mortality that have contributed to the decline of birth rate in Kerala, despite the comparatively lower per capita income of the State.

It follows that there cannot be A uniform recipe for the higher birth rate I phenomenon in other States. All the same, the success of family welfare depends on the overall status of women, literacy, the overall health status and general motivation.

In regions where the infant mortality is high, birth rate too remains high. Parents who get obsessed with child survival are reluctant to take to family planning methods. Child mortality incidence goes up where the health care infrastructure is rudimentary. ! The whole issue of family welfare is interconnected. Mere supply of contraceptives will not achieve the desired result. What is required is a holistic approach. Lower birthrate is linked to safe motherhood, child survival and health, education of women and a sound health infrastructure. Take a hard look at the female literacy rates in population 17s

States of UP (42.98), Jharkhand (39.38) and Bihar (33.57), And look at the IMR rates: 99.9 (UP); 72.6 (Rajasthan); 85.2 (Madhya Pradesh) and 89.2 (Bihar). States whose social indicators are unimpressive in other realms cannot obviously make headway in controlling birth rates.

Population control should merit the highest consideration among the priorities. We have delayed enough. Coercion will not work as we have seen during the days of Internal Emergency. What is required is a multi-pronged attack that studies the special situation in each State. Each State Population Commission should size up the problem in the State in its entirely and consult the Central Population Commission wherever necessary. Population control should be treated as a mass movement that should involve not merely the sociology