[Answered] In India, investing in the laggard States will ensure population control. Discuss in the light of recently, released UN’s World Population Prospects. Suggest some measures to control population in India.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Introduce with UN report.
Body. Discuss population statistics of various states.
Conclusion. Way forward and solutions.

United Nations in its 26th revision of World Population Prospects forecast that India will overtake China as the most populous country by 2027. In 2015, it was predicted that India would overtake China in 2022, but in the 2019 projections it is 2027. The UN has revised India’s expected population size in 2050 downward from 1,705 million in 2015 projections to 1,639 million in 2019 projections. This is due to faster than expected fertility decline.

Why India should invest in laggard states?

  • National-level population trends shows the significant heterogeneity across states in terms of fertility, mortality, age-structure, and the ageing phenomenon already underway in some states.
  • The southern states, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal and Maharashtra are already quite advanced in the demographic transition, with-
    • TFR already well below replacement level fertility;
    • population growth mainly due to momentum;
    • more than 10 per cent of the population over the age of 59; and
    • at most one-third of the population below the age of 20.
  • In contrast, states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are still in the early stages of demographic transition. Population growth in the north and central parts of India is far greater than that in south India. This shows regional variations wrt population growth in India.
  • As the United Nations Population Fund estimates, over the next 20 years, the window of opportunity will be open for moderate achievers such as Karnataka, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir. As the demographic window of opportunity closes for these States, it will open for Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other States that are the last to enter fertility transition. This suggests that workers of Bihar will be supporting the ageing population of Kerala in 20 years.

In order to maximise the demographic dividend, we must invest in the education and health of the workforce, particularly in States whose demographic window of opportunity is still more than a decade away. This is because current laggards will be the greatest contributors of the future for everyone, particularly for ageing populations of early achievers. Enhancing their productivity will benefit everyone.

Measures to Control Population of India: Measures can be classified into 3 heads-

Social Measures:

  1. Minimum age of Marriage: As fertility depends on the age of marriage. So the minimum age of marriage should be raised. In India minimum age for marriage is 21 years for men and 18 years for women has be fixed by law. This law should be firmly implemented and people should also be made aware of this through publicity.
  2. Raising the Status of Women: There is still discrimination to the women. They are confined to four walls of house. They are still confined to household activities. So women should be given opportunities to develop socially and economically. Free education should be given to them.
  3. Spread of Education: The spread of education changes the outlook of people. The educated men prefer to delay marriage and adopt small family norms. Educated women are health conscious and avoid frequent pregnancies and thus help in lowering birth rate.
  4. Adoption: Some parents do not have any child, despite costly medical treatment. It is advisable that they should adopt orphan children. It will be beneficial to orphan children and children couples.
  5. Change in Social Outlook: Social outlook of the people should undergo a change. Marriage should no longer be considered a social binding. Issueless women should not be looked down upon.
  6. Social Security: More and more people should be covered under-social security schemes. So that they do not depend upon others in the event of old age, sickness, unemployment etc. with these facilities they will have no desire for more children.

Economic Measures:

  1. More employment opportunities: The first and foremost measure is to raise, the employment avenues in rural as well as urban areas. Generally in rural areas there is disguised unemployment. So efforts should be made to migrate unemployed persons from rural side to urban side. This step can check the population growth.
  2. Development of Agriculture and Industry: If agriculture and industry are properly developed, large number of people will get employment. When their income is increased they would improve their standard of living and adopt small family norms.
  3. Standard of Living: Improved standard of living acts as a deterrent to large family norm. In order to maintain their higher standard of living people prefer to have a small family. A study found that those who earn less than Rs. 100 per month have on the average a reproduction rate of 3.4 children and those who earn more than Rs. 300 per month have a reproduction rate of 2.8 children.
  4. Urbanisation: It is on record that people in urban areas have low birth rate than those living in rural areas. Urbanisation should therefore be encouraged.

Other Measures:

  1. Late Marriage: As far as possible, marriage should be solemnised at the age of 30 years. This will reduce the period of reproduction among the females bringing down the birth rate. The govt. has fixed the minimum marriage age at 21 yrs. for males and 18 yrs. for females.
  2. Self Control: Self control is one of the powerful methods to control the population. It is an ideal and healthy approach and people should be provided to follow. It helps in reducing birth rate. Contraceptive measures should be promoted.
  3. Family Planning: This method implies family by choice and not by chance. By applying preventive measures, people can regulate birth rate. This method is being used extensively; success of this method depends on the availability of cheap contraceptive devices for birth control.
  4. Recreational Facilities: Birth rate will likely to fall if there are different recreational facilities like cinema; theatre, sports and dance etc. are available to the people.
  5. Publicity: The communication media like T.V., radio and newspaper are the good means to propagate the benefits of the planned family to the uneducated and illiterate persons especially in the rural and backward areas of country.
  6. Incentives: The govt. can give various types of incentives to the people to adopt birth control measures. Monetary incentives and other facilities like leave and promotion can be extended to the working class which adopts small family norms.
  7. Employment to Woman: Another method to check the population is to provide employment to women. Women should be given incentive to give services in different fields. Women are taking active part in competitive examinations. As a result their number in teaching, medical and banking etc. is increasing rapidly. In brief by taking, all there measures we can control the growth of population.
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