Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 08:10:13

Population explosion : Time is Ticking

By NILABH KRISHNA
Updated: December 31, 2022 1:53 pm

The world has always been increasingly concerned with population management. However, it was the 2019 Population Control Bill that made the matter more prominent. Many individuals were offended by the somewhat contentious and audacious move, which was criticised in many regions of the nation. However, it must be acknowledged that India urgently needs a population control law to successfully control the nation’s population rise. India is currently the second most populous nation, according to data. By 2027, it is anticipated to unseat China as the top-ranked nation. 1.38 billion people are expected to live in India, which represents around 17% of the world’s population. According to the 2011 census, India can benefit from a growing population if it is structured properly. With an average national age of about 29 years and 41% of our people under the age of 18, India has one of the youngest populations in the world. According to this, the majority of Indians still have a large portion of their working years ahead of them. If given the proper training, education, and career opportunities, this group can help improve the country and the economy. However, there are a lot of negative aspects to population growth as well. It may impede a nation’s overall development. However, it should be mentioned that India’s Total Fertility Rate, or the average number of children a woman would have in her lifetime, has decreased to 2.2, which is extremely near to the ideal rate of 2.1. Without regulation, though, this development toward a population growth rate that is healthier could backfire and have the opposite impact.

Even now, the population exceeds what the nation could readily support. This has an impact on every aspect imaginable, but it has the most impact on the country’s economy. As the population grows, the market becomes oversaturated with unskilled labour, which drives down the pay they receive. It slows the growth of per capita income, which exacerbates poverty in the nation. Because there aren’t enough jobs for such a large population, there are more individuals working in places where they could get by with fewer people. This situation is known as disguised employment. This has a negative impact on the nation’s GDP.

The environment is another area where the growing population has a significant impact because as the population grows, nature gradually deteriorates and gets worse. Forests are cleared to create homes for the populace. The worst pollution levels have been recorded, and climate change has arrived at our doorsteps as a result of our actions.

All these factors make it pertinent to start considering regulating the population of the country, in order to lift the country out of poverty and move towards progress. The Population Regulation Bill, 2019 was a step towards achieving this objective.

Rakesh Sinha, a member of parliament, filed a bill in the Rajya Sabha in July 2019 that called for making the “Two-Child” policy the standard for people in India and promoted it with the slogan “hum do hamare do.” It also included a punishment clause that would bar violators from using any government services as a means of punishment. It suggested barring persons with more than two children from running for office, denying them financial benefits, and reducing the benefits they may receive under the Public Distribution System (PDS).

4his Independence Day speech in 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the population increase and remarked, “A small portion of society, which keeps its families small, deserves respect.Its actions are an act of patriotism.” This statement sparked the introduction of the Bill. Although the Bill may have had the correct goal in mind, it was condemned for a variety of reasons since it was a pretty daring step to make.

Emergency trauma

In India, population control has been a hotly debated issue and various measures have made to address it. A sort of post-trauma trigger of the population control strategy during the Emergency led to India’s lack of proper execution and resistance to a population control law. Since then, India has always had a poor perception of population control policies. The government of Indira Gandhi launched a horrifying programme to sterilise men for population control during the 1975 emergency period. Laws requiring men to get sterilised were against democratic principles. The majority of the time, it was done without the person’s consent. Police officers and government representatives forced and dragged others to surgery.

People were put under pressure using both physical and manipulative techniques. The government spread the message that until government employees complied with the sterilising programme, promotions and compensation would not be given. Hospitals also ceased providing free medical care unless a sterilisation certificate was produced. Government officers, sadly, entirely disregarding their age or marital status, picked up destitute and illiterate persons from train terminals or bus stops.

6.2 million males were sterilised in a single year, which is astonishing. India has a murky past with state-sponsored measures of population control. The majority of the burden fell on the nation’s poor and marginalised populations. Even now, the impacts of those mass sterilisations are still being felt. India has a history of being wary of strict population control measures. As a result, it is suffice to say that the population control campaign during the emergency was a serious human rights violation.

Criticism of the Population Control Bill

The Bill was subject to two types of criticism. On the one hand, it is uncertain if controlling population alone, with other parameters remaining constant, could bring about much-needed change to the GDP. Which group of people would be most targeted if the bill is passed raises another worry.

The first worry seems a bit hazy. It is a widely acknowledged reality that a large population negatively impacts the nation’s economy, therefore it is urgent to control it. The Bill was a much-needed step in the right direction, even though it does need revision and adjustment. The “Two-Child” policy would likely guarantee that the population doesn’t grow out of control while also preventing a situation similar to the one China is currently in.

The second criticism of the issue is more specific. The poorest strata of Indian society hold the majority of the country’s population. The TFR was actually found to be 2.4 in rural India as opposed to 1.8 in urban India in the National Family Health Survey (2015-2016). When literacy and education were taken into account, it was shown that women with no education had a TFR of 3.1 while those with appropriate education only had a TFR of 1.7. It is also important to note that while the TFR for the general population was 1.93, it was 2.26 for Scheduled Castes.

Therefore, it is obvious that the marginalised, the poor, and the ignorant populations would be affected the most if any such bill were to pass in the Parliament. Additionally, others say that the Bill may be a strategy for reducing the Muslim community’s population growth and targeting the Muslim community.

Conclusion

Population growth is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Due to the large number of children born in relation to the number of working adults, savings that could otherwise be used to improve the infrastructure and development of the nation must instead be used to meet the growing needs of children and adolescents for food, housing, healthcare, and education. Due of this, nations and people are unable to make the longer-term investments necessary to help them escape poverty. India has to be made more aware of population control measures including family planning, contraception, and health risks because of the growing kid population gap as well as the financial and social constraints associated with having a big family. For the population to decline, it is also necessary to provide enough health and educational services. To regulate the population without violating people’s rights, population control is necessary. This means promoting the benefits of small families and raising knowledge of the drawbacks of large families so that individuals opt to have only one or two children. Although the high court ruled population control laws unconstitutional and against people’s rights, a plea has been made and a trial is currently taking place in the Supreme court on the grounds that the high court failed to understand that the rights to clean air, drinking water, health, peaceful sleep, shelter, a means of subsistence, and education guaranteed under Articles 21 and 21A of the Constitution could not be violated.

 

By NILABH KRISHNA

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