World Population Day – Our Strength or Weakness?

Hindu devotees try to board a crowded passenger train to take part in the "Guru Purnima" festival in Goverdhan town near the northern Indian city of Mathura July 5, 2009. Guru Purnima is observed to pay respects to one's "guru" or teacher who symbolises the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, believed to be the creators of the universe and will be celebrated on July 7. REUTERS/K. K. Arora (INDIA TRANSPORT SOCIETY RELIGION)

With the presence of a sea of humanity in every nook and corner of India, the surge in population growth is quite evident, whether you are in a metro station, airport, railway station, road, highway, bus stop, hospital, mall, market, temple, social/religious gathering, one will rarely find a solitary place away from the crowd.

India, with a massive 1.28 billion people, is the second most populous country in the world while China leads with over 1.37 billion people. The figures show that India represents almost 17.31% of the world’s population, which means that one out of six people on this planet live in India. It is projected that by 2050, India will be the most populous country.

The year 2014-15 marked a great achievement for India as it became one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is estimated that by 2030, India will be the third largest economy with a projected GDP of $13,716 billion. According to Deutsche Bank report, over the next two decades India’s working-age population will increase by 240 million which will provide a pool of highest number of doctors and engineers. India remained at the top of Nielsen’s global consumer confidence index for the fourth quarter in a row. The country’s confidence score rose 1 point from the previous quarter and 9 points from a year ago to 130 in the three months ending March 2015. The power of 1.28 billion is both a challenge and an opportunity. The question is can we capitalize on this power to build a nation full of opportunity and pave the path for development?

In 1989, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recommended that 11th July be observed as World Population Day by the international community. This was a day to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. This year, the theme of World Population Day is “Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies.”

The World Population Day is in a sense a means to review measures undertaken to improve and control population. According to the “Millennium Development Goals India country report 2015 released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, India has fared well in achieving some of the “Millennium Development Goals”, We have been successful to bring down Poverty Head Count Ratio to 21.9 percent in 2011-12 from 47.8 percent of 1990. Primary education rate for all youths will reach 93.38 in 2015 marching towards 100 percent rate soon; however we still can do better in reducing child mortality rate and improving in maternal health.

Some statistics solidifies the need of rejuvenating the polices specially to improve the living conditions of women, as per the 2011 data 17,000 of women died due to HIV, sex ratio is very imbalanced with only 940 females for 1000 males. The 3rd National Health Survey also presents a bad picture of the situation of women in the country as only 59 percent women were literate, 37 percent of the women were victims of domestic violence, 55 per cent women were anaemic and the list of disparities goes on.

To curb the health problems good food, sanitation and shelter should be given priority. Low cost health facilities should be provided to trace the illness and cure it before it becomes severe, medical education should be promoted on primary and profession levels. Higher education among women should be promoted to make them confident and more progressive.

Even after 68 years of independence, due to overpopulation, unemployment, manpower utilization, pressure on infrastructure, resource utilization, inadequate and high cost of production and inequitable income distribution still haunts the country.

Needless to say, the productivity of people who have fulfilled their basic needs would be much higher than, those who have to struggle even to get two times meal a day. While countries like China and Japan have taken firm steps to reverse the trend of population growth, while India is still struggling to control the increasing population rate. We need to take drastic measures and resolutely try to improve the quality of our population to convert it into a quality human resource

The policy makers should initiate a bold population policy so that the economic growth of the country can keep pace with the demands of a growing population. Some of the important steps that can play a major role in controlling population growth are improving the welfare and status of women and girls, spread of education, increasing awareness for the use of contraceptives and family planning methods, sex education, encouraging male sterilisation and spacing births, free distribution of contraceptives and condoms among the poor, encouraging female empowerment, more health care centres for the poor, can play a major role in controlling population.

No doubt, in the coming years, we will leave a mark on global world, in the field of science and technology, healthcare, business, military, communication, entertainment, art and literature and many more but what we require are strict norms from the policymakers which will definitely lead the way to economic prosperity and development.

By – Anand Kumar

Deputy Manager – Media Campaign



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