- Discuss the trends seen in population growth.
- Delineate the suggested measures.
- Mention if coercive control should be used.
According to the 27th edition of the UN World Population Prospects Report 2022, India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023. At present, India’s population is 1.412 billion compared to China’s 1.426 billion.
The fertility rate in India has fallen substantially – from 5.7 births/woman in 1950 to just 2 births/woman today. As per National Family Health Survey-5, all states (except Mizoram) have seen an increase in family planning methods. Goa (42%) and Bihar (32%) have seen the highest increase in the use of family planning methods.
Consequently, most states have seen a decrease in the total fertility rate (TFR). However, some large States like Bihar (3.2) and UP (2.4) still have TFR much above the Replacement Rate. This is concerning as both States already have large population base. So, they can be the driving force behind India’s population rise in the coming decades. All other medium and large states have a TFR below the replacement level rate of 2.1.
Due to a large proportion of younger population, India’s population will continue to rise for the next 3 decades before stabilizing in the 2060s. India is projected to have a population of 1.688 billion in 2050, much ahead of China’s 1.317 billion.
Ways to manage population rise :
Social Measures :
- Evidence shows that improvement in women’s status through education and economic participation reduces TFR.
- Educated women are health conscious and avoid frequent pregnancies, thus lowering birth rate.
- Fertility depends on the age of marriage. So the minimum age of marriage should be raised to 21 years.
- Change the outlook of people by raising awareness about importance of family planning and birth control
- Raising awareness about family planning, birth control methods, access to contraceptive methods can help in controlling population.
- Some experts argue that the Government can incentivize adoption of birth control measures. Monetary incentives and other facilities like leave and promotion can be extended to the working class who adopts small family norms.
Economic Measures :
- If agriculture and industry are properly developed, a large number of people will get employment. When their income increases they would improve their standard of living and adopt small family
- TFR in urban and rural areas is 6 and 2.1 respectively (NFHS-5). Migration and urbanization tends to lower the birth rate. Hence, more employment opportunities and urbanization will help in reducing population growth rate.
Should Coercive control be used ? : Such measures were adopted in the 1970s like forced sterilization, which had resulted in widespread disaffection. Hence coercive population control measures may not achieve desired results and can cause unintended consequences.
To maximize the potential benefits of a favourable age distribution, India must invest in the further development of its human capital. There is a need to ensure access to health care and quality education at all ages and promote opportunities for productive employment and decent work.