The Problem of Population
The growth of population has become a serious problem in the modern world. Malthus (1766-1834) pointed out, as the population increases geometrically, food supply increases arithmetically. To make the population optimum according to his theory, positive checks such as wars, famines and pestilence would come into operation. His theory is not applicable to the developed countries. This is mainly due to the economic advancement they have achieved. But as far as developing countries are concerned; population has been increasing at a rapid rate. As a result poverty has become acute in them.
The world’s population increased from about 465 million in 1650 to over 4500 Million in 1962. According to an estimate of the UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the population of the world will have reached 6,459 million by the end of the twentieth Century.
In India the population has been increasing fast. In 1981 its population was 684 crore. It has only 2.4 per cent of the world’s total land area and it had to support a population of 843 crore according to the census of 1991. By the turn of the century, our population crossed the one billion mark.
The rapid growth of population retards the economic development of the country. Nehru once said, “India’s population problem is not one, but 400 million problems.”
Today the number has crossed one billion. The growth we achieve in national income is neutralized by the increasing population. Therefore, stabilization of population is urgently necessary.
The World Development Report of 1985 says “A war on poverty would simply have to be a war on population”. If we do not check the population explosion, the future of the nation will be lurid.
There are several reasons for the rapid growth of the population in our country. One important reason is the poverty of the people. The greater the poverty, the larger the size of the family. Illiteracy among the masses is another reason. A number of people believe that if they have more children they can earn more money. Some religious authorities are against family planning. They believe that restricting the number of children is against the commands of God. The death rate has been considerably reduced by advancement in the field of medicine.
India was the first country to carry out family planning as an official programme, in 1952. The people have been enlightened on the imperative necessity of family planning. A number of contraceptives have been popularised. The age for marriage has been raised to 18 for girls and 21 for boys.
Inspite of all these; steps, India has not greatly succeeded in checking the growth of its population. During the Emergency, coercion was used to sterilise people. This made the Congress government very unpopular. By -persuading the people we shall be able to check the growth of the population. Every Indian should realise that family planning is indispensable to the economic development of the country. Those, whose religion forbids abortion or sterilisation should be ready to follow at least the Rhythm Method to reduce. More information relating to this can be obtained from the doctors or from the field staff of the Family Planning Departments in the states. The governments should also take prompt steps to raise the standard of living of the masses.
Unless the population of Asia is stabilised, “there will be many more people for famine and pestilence to destroy, together with much more political discontent, bloodier revolutions and more abominable tyrannies” (Aldus Huxley).