A dark image bumps out of the television set every morning—the gory image of the biggest democracy of the world. India has already 45th position in the comity of nations so far as economic status is concerned. Adding one Australia to the population graph is not creditable. It adds as many mouths to be fed—as many bodies to be clothed. Education, most of them would have no access to when they are grown up. There is already a flood of illiterate young men and women.
A child being born before the second needle takes a full round in the clock may lead the nation to a world of hunger, strife, slums, inequalities—an unimaginable disaster. Family planning is the only way out to save the nation from final calamity.
The population in the world is bursting at the seams. It was 4 billion in 1975. According to a report of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities it reached 5.48 billion in 1992 and six billion on October 12, 1999.There was an average addition of 78 million every year in the last decade of the millennium. All of this population growth is expected to be in Africa, Asia and Latin America. More than half will be in Africa and South Asia.
UNFPA has projected three time tables of population growth by 2150. According to medium projection it will be 8.5 billion in 2025, 10 billion in 2050 and 11.6 billion in 2150. It is on the pattern of optimum growth and will be possible if people take a firm decision and practice family planning. The most optimistic assumption is the low projection calculation of 8.9 billion by 2050. It will begin to fall after that. But the high projection growth is horrifying. It could be 12.5 billion in 2050 and 20.7 billion in 2150.
The people in the USA and Europe i.e. in industrialized countries are conscious of population growth. But 70 million people from developing countries were working in developed ones in 1991.17.3 million refugees settled in these countries in 1990. Because of population growth 1,156 million people lived in absolute poverty in 1991. The number increases every year. In 1992 sixty million children were out of schools, 65 million were illiterate and 50 million were malnourished in developing countries. These estimates of World organization seem underestimated.
According to a report of International Labor Organization (ILO) 8.1% people in developed countries had no jobs in 1993. Germany was expected to have 11.3 per cent jobless people, France 12.0% and Britain 10.4%. Unemployment is highest among unskilled workers and immigrants. Developing countries where there is no check on population have been facing the problems gravely. Half of the population of these countries is both illiterate and absolute poor.
Population is growing fastest in the poorest countries. The fastest growing regions of the world are Sub-Saharan Africa, parts of South Asia and West Asia. Their share of the global population has been increasing steadily for 50 years.
According to 2001 census the population of India was 10, 27,015,247 on March 1, 2001. The growth rate during the 1991-2001 decade was 21.3 8%. In 2001 the number of illiterates increased to 460,300,252. This includes those too who can simply write their names.
The population growth has resulted in a wide gap between the earnings of the rich and the poor resulting in disparities of economic and social status. People have been migrating to big cities where industries are concentrated. It has resulted in thousands of slums in these cities. Slum culture results in flesh trade. A large number of girls are lured to the red light area. Infant mortality has been increasing. Because of more population more land is acquired for residential purpose and agriculture. It results in denudation of forests causing environmental and ecological disaster.
The only way out is to check the growth of population. Long back Malthus had recommended celibacy for the purpose. But it is not possible to practice it in the modern world. A large number of methods are available— for temporary and short term checks. Operation technique has also reached sophisticated ends. One can seek advice of a doctor. But the most essential thing for population control is consciousness among the masses. The 95% literacy rate in Kerala (100% according to official assessment) is responsible for lowest population growth rate in the 91-2002 decade. It dropped to 0.90. It can be achieved in other states too.