Population: A ticking time bomb
We are all very aware that our country has a huge population. However ‘huge’, ‘massive’, ‘boundless’ are adjectives not even close to describing what a disaster we have created.
Our first PM, honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, on gaining independence was happy and encouraging to any growth in the population, celebrating it as two more hands to work and earn. However, he did not realise or mention that each pair of hands came with a mouth to be fed too. Unfortunately, what was also not analysed was that the pair of hands were not meant to earn immediately. It would require a lot of economic and social costs of feeding, clothing and housing and educating them to make them acquire a good earning capacity.
Over time, as decades passed and poverty grew, it was apparent to see that the population growth had led to unforeseen consequences. The country had beggars everywhere, be it temples, traffic signals, tourist attractions or markets. What a sight and impression really for foreigners to carry with them …. little kids and pregnant women with babies in their arms begging away. It was at this juncture that Sanjay Gandhi, the son of Mrs. Indira Gandhi and the heir apparent, decided enough was enough and launched a nation wide campaign. However, his intentions may have been correct but the execution was nothing short of shoddy and horrific. Needless to say, not just his misguided methods failed but it also put paid to this policy forever.
Subsequent governments have not dared to touch this issue even with a barge pole since they know it would amount to political harakiri. China controlled it’s growth rate by imposing the “One Child Norm” , but we rejoiced that China now has a large percentage of elderly population. Easy enough to find faults but excuse me, while we laugh in glee that over 25% of our population is the youth, what of it? Unless and until we have a productive population which contributes to the GDP or National Income effective and in real terms, what do we do of this youth?
In reality, the burgeoning population of our country is largely uneducated and unemployed or underemployed and such idle minds have become devil’s workshops. Rapes, murders, robberies are commonplace. All these social crimes have economic roots. In fact , so does terrorism. Find the misguided youth, effective employment, as was done in Punjab and there is a high likelihood of a drop in terrorism in Kashmir as well. After all, who wants strife, violence, fear and threats. People crave for a steady income and normalcy.
Not only has overpopulation created a mass of unemployed people, it has also led to an increase in rich poor disparity. While the middle class and upper classes have restricted their family size to 2 to 3 children, now dropped to 1 to 2 , the man on the footpath and people in the slums continue to produce like rabbits. Why? Well, it’s the same “two working hands” logic. As soon as a child barely starts walking, it is forced into beggary, a job which requires neither qualifications nor skills. All it does is a pathetic tenacity.
So over time, while the rich have brought their growth rate down, the Below Poverty Line group has increased their own growth rate.
Naturally, a larger share of the national income belongs to these so called rich middle class, who pay the price by paying more and more taxes. Ultimately it’s a No-Win situation for all.
In such a scenario, it is no surprise to see that most good Universities in India have such limited seats as compared to the sheer number of the applicants that most children start targeting foreign universities after Grade 10 itself. A massive level of enmasse brain drain, which goes unnoticed.
So, why does no government bother? It would amount to dictatorship. Well then, to cure a disease, bitter pills have to be swallowed. They would lose the elections as their vote banks would no longer vote for them.
For a party which has come by a massive mandate in its second term and PM Modi who believes it is Nation above all, this has to on the priority list.
We need a population control policy NOW, because as trends predict, at this rate, we will overtake China’s population in 2024.
Upto you to decide whether we should laugh or cry , but for me it is no cause to celebrate.