What forced PM Modi to talk of population-control?

At the rate our population is surging, we will, by 2027, surpass china to become the most populated nation in the world with a projected population of about 1.5 billion. This clearly shows that India suffers from a major population explosion

Ranvijay SinghRanvijay Singh   20 Aug 2019 6:45 AM GMT

What forced PM Modi to talk of population-control?

"Our population explosion will create numerous challenges for our coming generations. But we also have to acknowledge that there exists a section of conscious citizens which understands the problem. This section of people keeps its family size limited in view of the problems that over-population poses. These citizens are admirable because their act of keeping the family limited is also, in a way, their act of patriotism."

-Prime Minister Narendra Modi (August 15, 2019)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's apprehension over the country's fast-growing population points out clearly to the grave nature of the issue. With a population of 1.3 billion, India remains the second most populated nation of the world. The country's population had leaped from 361 million in 1951 to 1.2 billion in 2011.


The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) had released the report State of World Population 2018 which recorded 1.1% world population growth rate between 2010 and 2019. China's annual population growth rate was 0.5%whereas India's population grew every year by 1.2%. So, India's population growth index is four times that of China.

At the rate our population is surging we will, by 2027, surpass china to become the most populated nation in the world with a projected population of about 1.5 billion. This clearly shows that India suffers from a major population explosion.

Unbridled population brings many challenges in its wake-indiscriminate use of natural resources, scarcity of food and water, fewer employment opportunities, unemployment, poverty, low lifestyle levels, etc. So, Modi's apprehensions are not unfounded.

Talking about the prime minister's apprehensions,professor Kaushalendra Kumar Singh of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) who engages in demographic and population mathematics, said: "The issue has also arisen due to India's inability to achieve its targeted Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 2.1% by 2020. While the country overall may have achieved the target, many states failed to do so with numerous districts lagging at 3.0%."

Although many states have the fertility rate of 2.1, but it is a state average with great parity within a state. Some district may have extremely high while the other extremely low. Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is the number of children borne by a woman. Presently India had targeted a TFR of 2.1 meaning each woman to give birth to only 2 children. This is said to be the optimum rate.

Indian population stood at 36.1crore in the first post-Independence census of 1951. In the next decade, it increased by 21.5% or by 7.81 crores. In between 1961 and 1971,our population registered an increase of 24.8% or 10.9crore. In 1971-81, population increased further by 25% or 13.76 crore. By 1919, India's population was 84.63 crore. In 2001, the population was 102.70 crore making it the first time the country had crossed the 100-crore mark.

Amidst talks of population control in the country, BJP MP Rakesh Sinha had proposed Population Regulation Bill, 2019 in Rajya Sabha July this year. The bill has been kept under the category of private member bill in Rajya Sabha and has not been legislated so far. The Bill, if passed, will enable 'two children norms' --meaning only two children per couple or family.

As per the Bill, the couple planning the family under two children norms shall be given certain facilities like bank loan at reduced interest rate, more interest on the deposits and preference in job and educational opportunities. The people failing to abide by the norms would be barred from Public Distribution System, contesting the elections and maybe given loan at higher interest rate etc.


Talking about the Bill, Sinha said: "In order to make the bill effective, provisions have been made so the citizens would become aware of the ill-effects of over-population and follow it." When the Bill was being put on House floor, another BJP MP, Giriraj Singh, had also tweeted to express his concerns about rising population.

He had tweeted, "Population explosion is gravely affecting economy, social harmony and balance of resources. There are also religious impediments to population control. India is fast progressing towards the cultural divide on the lines 1947. All political parties must unite to support the Population Control Bill."

China also had resorted to one-child norm to curb its population which allowed only one child per couple. Long after the rule was withdrawn when the country suffered from an extremely skewed ratio of age. Currently 60% of Indian population comprises people under 40 which makes it the youngest in the world.

Professor SKSingh of International Institute of Population Sciences said: "India doesn't need such regulations. People with low incomes produce more children to substantiate their incomes and to balance out any deaths. People with good incomes do family planning. So, the need is to address the societal gaps. Any initiative in this direction will help resolve the issue."


He added: "As of now, India's population growth has slowed down to a great extent. The growth which used to be 1.6 annually has now come down to 1.2%. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 1 revealed India's TFR as 3.4 which was 3.3 for Hindu women and 4.4 for Muslim women. It means that, on an average, Muslim women produced 1.1.children more than Hindu women in 1992-93."

"Even this has shown a decrease. As per NFHS-2 (1998-99), the country's TFR stood at 2.9. It was 2.8 for Hindu women and 3.6 for Muslim. In the third NFHS, TFR was recorded to be 2.7. For Hindu women it was 2.6 and for Muslim 3.1%. In fourth NFHS (2015-16) TFR was 2.2 with 2.6 for Muslim women and 2.1 for Hindu women. This shows a difference of 0.5% which was an all-time low."

"The real causes are poverty, early marriages, lack of education and disuse of contraception. This is clearly visible in the difference between the TFR of rich and poor families. While the TFR of women of poor families is 3.2, for richer family women it is 0.5," he elaborated adding, "One more thing is that out of all the women in the country 67% do not want more than two children even if both their children are girls. In this sense one may assume that BetiBachao, Beti Padhao drive has been a success.Sex ratio too has shown some improvement so it can be said that India's situation has not worsened at least in this regard. We can't stop the population momentum. However hard one may try, population control can only be achieved by 2040, such is the surge of population so far."

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