Going by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call, India strongly emphasizes on being a global super power by the year 2025. India aims to stride forward to become a 5 trillion dollar economy along with becoming world’s youngest country as 64% of its population falling under the working age bracket.
But how will that happen with a whooping 1.373 Billion population?
As we enter 2020, India’s population is estimated to be 1,380,004,385 approx at mid of this year according to the United Nation’s data. India’s population is currently equivalent to 17.7% of the total world’s population. The median age in India is 28.4 years with an average life expectancy of 70.42 years.
This rapid rise in population will also have some grave problems accompanying it for India’s future. Persons are not just means but also ends of economic development. They are an asset if present in adequate strength and prove to be a liability if excess in strength. Population has already crossed the optimum limit in India and its high time we take it up as a task to make sure it doesn’t become a liability for the country.
The problem of population explosion in India is proving to be a big hindrance in the success of economic planning and development.
Rapid rate of growth of population has been the root cause of several socio-economic problems in India.
Food scarcity: While people do not get sufficient quantity of food due to its low availability, this adversely affects their health and productivity. Low productivity causes low per capita income and thus paves the way for rise in poverty.Shortage of food-grains obliges the under-developed countries to import food grains from abroad. So a large part of foreign exchange is spent on it. So development work suffers. Hence, rise in population ends up causing food shortage problem thereby hampering economic expenditures of the country’s budget.
Unemployment: Larger the size of population, larger is the army of labour force. But due to shortage of capital resources, it becomes difficult to provide gainful employment to the entire working population. Disguised unemployment in rural areas and open unemployment in urban areas are the peculiar features of an developing country like India. The employment creation in India has been a much talked issue across the table in past few years. But, very few significant efforts have been taken to enhance the level of education in India. Every year witnesses a huge number of graduates coming out of the colleges but conversion of job seekers into successful employment has not seen the day of the light. While our education system focuses on passing students to their next level of academic stage, often it has been seen that these graduates don’t end up becoming employable or industry-ready.
Low Standard of Living: Rapid growth of population is also accounting for low standard of living in India. Even, the bare necessities of basic living are not available adequately. Population in India increases every year by about 1.60 crore. It requires 121 lakh tonnes of food grains, 1.9 lakh meters of cloth and 2.6 lakh houses and 52 lakh additional jobs to satisfy this rise in population and maintain a socio-economic balance in the society.
The cost and price rise is directly responsible for raising the cost of living of the masses. This brings the standard of living to a low. Poverty breeds large number of children which increases poverty further and vicious circle of poverty continues degrading further. Thus, the consequence of population growth is to lower the standard of living.
Poverty: Rising population directly increases poverty in India. People end up spending a large portion of their resources for bringing up of their wards. This results into less saving and low rate of capital formation. Hence, improvement in production technique becomes impossible. This also means low productivity of labour.
Population and Rise of Social Problems: Population explosion gives rise to a number of social problems. It leads to migration of people from rural areas to the urban areas thereby causing the growth of slum areas. People live in most unhygienic and insanitary conditions of the urban areas in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, etc.The failure in seeking jobs has also been leading youngsters to illicit activities like robbery, beggary, prostitution and murder etc. The terrorist activities that we find today in various parts of the country are the reflection of frustration among educated unemployed youth and their vulnerability to fall for easy ways earning a livelihood. Overcrowding, traffic congestion, frequent accidents and pollution in big cities are also the direct result of over-population. Infrastructure that is coming up is clearly insufficient to cater to the fast growing population.
Declining trend of Agricultural Development: In less developed countries, mostly people live in rural areas and their main occupation is agriculture and if the population increases, the land-man ratio is certainly disturbed. Per-capita availability of land for cultivation declined from 1.1 acre in 1911 to 0.6 acre in 1971 in our country which makes the size of holdings very small. This also leads to the occurrence of disguised unemployment and underemployment in the agricultural sector. It leads to congestion and moreover to reduction in land available for farming as well as for building houses, factories, hospitals, shopping centres, educational institutions, roads and railway tracks etc. Thus, the growth of population retards agricultural development and inherently creates many other problems.
Adverse Effects on Environment: Rapid population growth leads to the environmental change. Rapid population growth has swelled the ranks of unemployed men and women at an alarming rate. Due to this, a large number of people are being pushed in ecologically sensitive areas such as hill sides and tropical forests. A similar such situation propped up recently when some development project work started in the Arrey area of Mumbai whereas tall sky-scrappers have been built long back to accommodate lavish societies on same land where large plantations once existed. These societies were built just like several others only after devastating various ecological cultivation. Such large scale migrations of population lead to the cutting of forests for cultivation leading to several environmental change. Besides all this, the increasing population growth leads to the migration of large number to urban areas with industrialization. This results in polluted air, water, noise and population in big cities and towns.
Education & Population: By 2025, India is expected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country due to higher fertility rates and a younger population. However, a new study suggests that India’s population outlook depends heavily on the degree to which differences between regions within India’s population, or heterogeneity, are incorporated into population regulation models.
India is an extremely heterogeneous Asian sub-continent. Simply because it is one nation, unlike composite Europe, it should not be treated as a uniform entity. To account for the diversity between different states and regions of India, they designed a study that pioneered a five-dimensional model of India’s population differences that include rural or urban place of residence, state, age, sex, and level of education. The model was then used to show the population projection changes within scenarios that combine different levels of these factors.
If the projection is carried out while only explicitly accounting for age and sex, influential factors like higher education, associated with decreased fertility, are left out. Thus, a projection based on today’s much higher fertility rate of uneducated and rural women predicts a drastically larger population in the future.
At the most general level, a research reveals the importance of considering differences within sub-national populations, and recognizing that they are at different stages of a general development. Differences in development are to a large extent driven by improvements in the skills, education, and capacity of labor within different countries.
In addition to age and sex, education should also be routinely included in population forecasts because of its well-established implications for improving the economy and quality of life, while reducing population growth and mortality rates. For its part, China has invested heavily in universal education since the 1950s and is decades ahead of India in terms of human capital. But it isn’t too late for India to catch up.
Our population projection for India in 2050 looks similar to what China already has today. This implies that India is some three decades behind. But since it has recently expanded education efforts for the youth, there is good hope for their future. In fact, the percentage of women that had never attended any school has dropped from 70% to 46% since 1990. As India’s young population is set to surpass China in size, continued investment in education could translate growth into economic and human resources that are competitive with the wealthiest and most powerful nations in Asia.
There is no second opinion about the crucial role that education plays in shaping an individual’s personality. As per a survey revealing, India’s organized sector has only 34 million people which forms a very small strata of the total population. This statement itself says a lot about the Indian literacy rate and the education system.