Effects of population growth and plastic use, few concerns dwelled upon in PM Modi’s I-Day speech
The Prime Minister in his Independence Day speech touched upon very many important issues. Among them, the most that appealed from across parties were: population control, shunning single-use plastic, tourism within India, respect for wealth creators etc. His outlook is, undoubtedly visionary. However, all of the aforementioned, need much awareness campaigns.
Population growth is a cause for concern:-
The prime minister from the ramparts of Red Fort hailed the small family norm. He called those who observed small family norm to be Patriots. And further said, it becomes the “patriotic duty” of the citizens to control the population. Most of the rich and middle class, with education and awareness, already planned their families by limiting to one or two children. It’s the poorer sections and from among the minorities (either out of religious compulsion or for increasing their fold in India) do not observe small family norm.
Since the number of children is more among the poor, the parental attention paid to each child becomes less. It would not be possible, economically, for them, to provide nutritious food and health care to all. The malnourished and impoverished kids get all types of illnesses quickly. Whereas for those who limit the family could afford to provide good education, healthcare and ambience that nurtures a child to develop into a useful and productive citizen.
There is an argument on the other hand: most often, most methodically done surveys say: child mortality rate is high in the poor. The poor lose their children due to adverse, unhealthy conditions in which they live in. Hence, they require more offspring to compensate for the loss. Therefore, if infant mortality is curtailed by the government, it’s possible for the poor to limit their children. For this, the government has to involve itself in maternal, child welfare, and antenatal activities.
What applies, to a family, applies to the nation. The country’s resources and revenues are drained in ensuring welfare programs for the increasingly poor, rather than for developmental activities of the country. The infrastructural facilities created in the urban areas that are meant to cater to a certain amount of people would be damaged, if used, by the excessively increased population. That results in repairs leading to spending from public exchequer. In addition to that, increased population growth would put a burden on the environment by increased human activity. As a matter of fact, to help tackle climate change people should have fewer children.
For every policy measure, there are some critics. Regarding population control, Assaduddin Owaisi ridiculed the Prime Minister by tweeting “Majority of India is young and productive but this advantage will only last till 2040. PM is clueless about how to utilise this advantage, so he’s coming up with discarded and intrusive ideas of governance that shirk his own responsibility”.
Though the majority of India’s population is young and productive, most of them are not physically fit unlike the people of advanced countries in muscularity. Moreover, with no proper education and skills, they are lagging behind and are not productive. In that void, some are turning to nefarious criminal activities and terrorism. So, by controlling childbirth, parents could easily pay attention to keep track of the child.
In the recent ‘Neta Nagri’ episode on PM’S I-Day speech, the renowned journalist, Rajdeep Sardesai praised South India for containing the population boom. He didn’t stop there. Turning to the interviewer, he said: ‘you people always blame the Left, see in Kerala how effectively they educated and controlled the population growth’. These liberal journalists madly praise Kerala state till no end. If Kerala was so great to them, why didn’t they showcase the state in 2019 elections to win?
As a matter of fact, of all the South Indian states, Kerala is area-wise small and is densely populated. Andhra Pradesh (united), Tamil Nadu and Karnataka more than Kerala controlled population well. These states have never had the Left-Communist rule. If Liberal journalists believe the Left -communists, are capable of bringing change in population growth, what’s their answer for West Bengal? The state was ruled uninterruptedly for twenty four years by the Left, yet the population of the state remains high! The ground reality is, family-planning/family welfare-workers, often teach the majority community more and are scared to go to the places (to educate) where Muslim-minority is concentrated. The kind of talk- so-called Liberals make, hurts the cause.
Freeing India from single-use plastics:-
Single-use plastics are mainly grocery bags, milk packs, chips packets, mini shampoo and ketchup packets, straws for drinking cool drinks etc. By not using these single-use plastics, India would be helping in containing ‘Global Plastic Pollution’ Crisis. The single-use plastic bags are causing havoc to the environment as they block drainage leading to water waste clogging and overflowing of water. Sometimes, they end up as litter in the environment.
Plastic is of recent twentieth-century origin. In ancient days, people of India used the utility items made of mud. Mud pots when worn out or broken were thrown out. Immediately, they mixed with the soil on the ground. Similarly, Banana/Plantain leaves, used for eating food, are biodegradable (when left out after use they get dissolved into the earth ).
Next, the lightweight plastic, travels through the wind, in the form of small pellets normally 1mm or so, they enter into the guts of migrating birds. When minute plastics get accumulated in rivers and tidal flows through industrial spillages it enters into fish and mammals. And that fish, that is the career of those toxins, is eaten by men! It’s said, that by 2050, there will be as much plastic in the sea as there is fish.
The PM also pointed out the ‘Tourism Industry’ to grow within India, which is a good idea. Indians are known for their spiritual tourism, not for a holiday-tourism for fun and frolic. However, the prime minister is encouraging people to relax and enjoy by going to different destinations within the country. There was a special mention of N-E states for tourism. Nowadays, many people are going on holidays to comfortable places for relaxation. Some would go to foreign lands outside India for the alluring sites and hospitality offered. In India, all states should build facilities in their tourist spots of importance for promoting tourism-culture. A country like Singapore thrives on its tourism. Why can’t India build such infrastructure and clean environment, is the moot question?
Respect for wealth creators:-
There’s a general cynicism on rich people in India and especially for those who invest in private industries and create wealth. The PM tried to dispel this feeling. Unless the rich create wealth for the country (by way of high taxes they pay and also by providing employment to many), the poverty in the country cannot be eliminated, is a fact. On the whole, the PM’s speech was direction-oriented.
I am Indira Garimella living in Hyderabad. I hold a Master’s Degree and M. Phil (in English) with M.Ed. I worked as PGT in English in Government run Residential Schools. I have been associated with Pragna Bharati, Hyderabad. I also worked as Associate Editor of Bharatiya Pragna, monthly magazine of Pragna Bharati in the past. I have been a keen observer of National Politics and also write letters and articles to the English and Telugu newspapers from time to time.