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Population bill- A pressing need

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With 1.4 billion people, India accounts for approximately 17.5% of the world’s population; one in every six people on the planet lives in India. According to the United Nations’ World Population Prospects (WPP) 2022, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country in 2023. India is currently in a demographic transition, with a sizable proportion of the youth population.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat called for a comprehensive population policy in his annual Vijayadashmi speech in Nagpur. He said, The population is now viewed through two lenses. This massive population will require copious amounts of resources for sustenance; if the same rate of growth continues, it may become a liability – albeit an inconvenient liability. As a result, schemes are primarily designed with control in mind. Another viewpoint that emerges is one that regards the population as a ‘asset.’ Because there are numerous dimensions to this issue, population policy must holistically integrate all of these considerations, be implemented uniformly, and a mindset that fully supports it must be cultivated with one more important and critical aspect is religion-based population imbalance.

We must classify his points into three categories in order to properly analyse them.

1. Religious demographic shifts in border areas
2. Countries are suffering as a result of religious demographic change.
3. Economy and Growth

Religious demographic shifts in border areas

Bangladesh stretches for 4096.70 kilometres through West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. Pakistan has a 3323-kilometer border with India that runs through Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and the Union Territory of Ladakh. Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and the Union Territory of Ladakh share a 3488-kilometer border with China. Myanmar has a 1643-kilometer border with Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram. Afghanistan has a 106-kilometer border with the Union Territory of Ladakh, but it is currently under illegal occupation by Pakistan.

The planned demographic changes in Indian border states, combined with the logistical and moral support of complex insiders, provide fertile ground for terrorism and a sure way to destroy Indian cultural identity. The increase in illegal migrants is closely related to national security, particularly in border areas. They cause religious, ethnic, and linguistic strife, which leads to terrorism.

For the last two decades or so, counter-terrorism experts have generally believed that radicalisation evolves in a process that eventually leads to involvement in terrorism. Radicalisation is a path to terrorism, a trap of fundamentalism and extremism, and a path where violence is justified as a means to an end. We have seen the effect of demographic change in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and those who see this issue through religious lenses are targeting the RSS chief, are they prepared to spend the rest of their lives in these counties with their families? Even majority from Minorities in India are reluctant to spend their lives in these countries… Why?

According to police reports from Uttar Pradesh and Assam, there has been a 32% increase in Muslim population in some border districts, compared to the national average of 10-15%. Illegal camps containing illegal migrants have also been reported in many border districts. It is also clear that religious institutions and structures have proliferated in these states. In addition to these, two states with a high number of illegal migrants are Uttarakhand and Rajasthan. Unfortunately, this will result in the exodus of non-Muslims who are unable to tolerate the sponsored violence and militant activities.

In India, the fight against terrorism is sometimes misconstrued as an attack on Muslims, which is not the case. However, the sick migrants use this news to radicalise vulnerable sections of the Muslim community who live in border areas. This is a significant consequence of illegal migration.
Dr. JK Bajaj of the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) led the study that shed light on India’s “changing religious demography.” Looking at the share of the Muslim population in the census taken after independence to the most recent enumeration, the decadal increase in Muslim population growth was 0.24 percent between 1951 and 1961. In the decade 2001-2011, it increased nearly fourfold to 0.80%.

In terms of absolute numbers, the growth of the Muslim population is also astounding. The population of Muslims in India was 3.47 crore in 1951, but it had grown to 17.11 crore by 2011. This implies a multiplication factor of 4.6, according to Dr. Bajaj. During the same time period, the number of Indian religionists increased by only 3.2 times.

As a result, the Muslim population has grown at a faster rate than the Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Bauddha population. Despite a decline in the growth rate of all religions in India between 2001 and 2011, the religious imbalance has grown.

We are also dealing with a major problem known as “Naxalism,” which is prevalent in areas with a high rate of religious conversion. Does this imply that as the Hindu population declines due to conversion or other means, anti-social activities by anti-India forces increase? To put it in proper perspective, intellectuals and the media must study and analyse it.

Countries are suffering as a result of religious demographic change.

According to the RSS chief, countries such as East Timor, South Sudan, and Kosovo emerged in the twenty-first century as a result of “religion-based population imbalance.” The three countries mentioned by SarSanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat ji have a history of ethnic and religious conflict.

“We saw the effects of population imbalance seventy-five years ago.” Due to a religious imbalance in the population, new countries were formed and nations were divided. “It is necessary in the interest of the nation to keep the population balance in check,” he said.

East Timor
East Timor is an island country in Southeast Asia that was colonised by the British, Dutch, and Portuguese. In a paper titled ‘Religious Ironies in East Timor,’ scholar Robert William Hefner wrote that in 1975, the East Timorese population was only about 35 to 40% Catholic, and the majority of non-Christians practised “ancestral and ethnic” religions, with the exception of “a few Muslims in coastal towns.” This, he claims, changed after the Indonesian invasion.

“The majority of Indonesian troops sent to Timor… were Muslim.” Religion-based demographic change, first by the Portuguese and then by Indonesia, has resulted in constant social unrest, violence, thousands of killings by militant groups, and social and economic backwardness. According to the most recent census, 97.6 percent of East Timor’s population is Catholic, 1.96 percent is Protestant, and less than 1% is Muslim.

South Sudan
South Sudan, which has a Christian majority, gained independence from the Muslim-dominated north Sudan in 2011 following a referendum that ended years of civil war. For 22 years, the war raged between the government in the predominantly Muslim, Arabic-speaking north Sudan and people from the south, who practised primarily Christian and other traditional religions.

After Sudan gained independence from its colonisers (first Egyptian, then British) in 1956, the government attempted to impose rules that were anti-Christian, such as nationalising missionary schools, abolishing the Sunday holiday in favour of Friday (Jumma) as the weekly holiday, and expelling Christian missionaries.

Kosovo is an ethnic Albanian territory that was once a part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (which included Serbia and Montenegro), the rump of the old Yugoslavia, which saw many of its constituent republics declare independence in the early 1990s. Kosovo was a Serbian autonomous province. In 1998-99, the Kosovo Liberation Army fought Serbian forces until NATO intervened and forced Serbia to withdraw from Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008.

Serbia has refused to acknowledge Kosovo’s independence. Ethnic Albanians, the majority of whom are Muslims, regard Kosovo as their homeland and accuse Serbia of oppression. Serbs are primarily Christian.

Economy and Growth

How can India benefit from the Demographic Dividend?
Increased Fiscal Space: Fiscal resources can be diverted from spending on children to investing in modern physical and human infrastructure, thereby increasing India’s economic sustainability.
Rise in Workforce: With over 65% of the working-age population, India has the potential to become an economic superpower, providing more than half of Asia’s potential workforce in the coming decades.

Increased labour force participation boosts economic productivity.
Women’s workforce participation is increasing.
The effects of rising population on the economy and growth

Because it is difficult to create the same number of jobs, unemployment may rise, causing social unrest.

Too much population growth has an impact on health facilities and hygienic conditions, reducing their efficiency and growth.

It also has an impact on educational facilities. Any advancement in infrastructure makes it unworthy as the population grows.

A population bill is required, taking into account all of the above factors, because no one wants our country to become like Afghanistan, Pakistan, or East Timor.

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Author, Writer, Educationist. Counsellor, AOL faculty, Electrical Engineer
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