When we are talking about Bharat being the nation of youth, the multifaceted problem of population explosion cannot be neglected. The strain on natural resources, addressing claims and aspirations through democratic means, illegal migration, environmental concerns, imbalanced growth, etc. are the different dimensions of the issue and the only option to deal with the same is to come up with a strong and all-pervasive National Population PolicyWhile exploding population is seriously hampering the nation’s progress, it is bringing in a multitude of problems across the society, in the complete absence of effective population control laws to contain population growthIt is duty of the government to secure fundamental rights of its citizens, particularly those guaranteed under Articles 21-21A viz. right to clean air, right to drinking water, right to health, right to peaceful sleep, right to shelter, right to livelihood and right to education.
Source: Registrar General of India, Census 2011, Provisional Population Totals
Today, 122 crore Bharatiyas with AADHAAR, around 25 crore Bharatiya without AADHAAR, about 4 crore illegal Bangladeshis and about 1 crore Rohangiya Muslims live in Bharat. From this, it becomes evident that the total population of our country is around 152 crore instead of the 130 crore. And we have marched ahead of China. We have merely 2% agricultural land and 4% drinking water. But we have 20% of the world’s population in Bharat.
Bharat is one-third of China but population growth rate is three times higher than that of China. As per countrymeters, population clock on an average in China 33 children are born every minute whereas in India 53 children are born every minute.
Every year population is increasing but the amount of natural resources to sustain this population is diminishing. We have to think about conditions of our natural resourcesPopulation explosion is the root cause of India’s problems including shortage of water, declining forests resources, land, food, clothes and house, extreme poverty and rising unemployment, malnutrition and environmental pollution. More and more people means more crowds in trains, police stations, tehsils and jails, High Courts and Apex Court. Relentless growth in population leads inevitably to steep rise in crimes such thefts, domestic violence, physical and mental harassment of women, religious fanaticism, political and religious violence etc. In a survey, conducted on thieves, dacoits, chain-snatchers, rapists and mercenaries, it has become apparent that 90% of their parents do not follow the policy of “Hum Do aur Hamare Do”. Therefore, it is evident that uncontrolled population explosion is the root cause to more than 50% of our problems in Bharat.
Resource Crunch:Amidst growing population depleting natural resources like water are already facing the heat
We celebrate International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25 every year, but violence on women is increasing every day. When a girl is born to a woman, the woman (mother) is subjected to both physical and mental harassment, even though it is not the fault of the woman herself. Some men just abandon their first wife if 3 or 4 daughters are born to him. They look for a second wife to fulfilling their desire to have a son.
For daughters to have good health, social, economic and political justice, liberty of thoughts, expression, faith and worship, equality opportunity, a strong and effective population control law, based on the Model of China, is urgently required.
Population explosion is the root cause of the deplorable condition of our International Ranking. It is a shame we are now ranked 103rd in the Global Hunger Index, 43rd in Suicide Rate, 168th in Literacy Rate, 133rd in World Happiness Index, 125th in Gender Discrimination, 124th in Minimum Pay, 42nd in Employment Rate, 66th in Rule of Law Index, 43rd in Quality of Life Index, 51st in Financial Development Index, 177th in Environment Performance Index, 139th in GDP Per Capita. Unfortunately, we are Top of the List in wasting underground water, though we possess only 4% of ground water and merely 2% of agricultural land.
Population explosion is also the root cause of corruption. We were ranked 66th in 1998, 72nd in 1999, 69th in 2000, 71st in 2001 and 2002, 83rd in 2003, 90th in 2004, 88th in 2005, 70th in 2006, 72nd in 2007, 85th in 2008, 84th in 2009, 87th in 2010, 95th in 2011, 94th in 2012, 87th in 2013, 85th in 2014, 76th in 2015, 79th in 2016, 81st in 2017 and 79th in 2018 in Corruption Perception Index.
“Save the Girl Child” campaign (Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao) may have been successful, but torture after marriage, cannot be stopped in the absence of an effective population control laws. After the birth of 3 or 4 daughters, physical and mental torture are hurled at the woman, though she alone is not responsible for the birth of the girl. Many men prefer polygamy in their desire to have a son. Therefore, India urgently needs an effective population control law to stop gender discrimination between boys and girls, and to ensure equal rights and opportunity to both.
Tax-paying Bharatiyas follow “Hum Do aur Hamare Do” get nothing but some sections of the people do not follow “Hum Do aur Hamre Do” policy but they get everything including subsidised food, clothes, house and all. This needs to change immediately.
Thousands of years ago, Lord Ram introduced “Hum Do aur Hamare Do” policy. Setting a noble example, he followed, along with brothers Laxman, Bharat and Shatrughan, the policy of “Hum Do aur Hamare Do” though the population growth was not so dangerous as it is today. Population explosion is even more dangerous than bomb explosion. Without implementing an effective population control laws, Healthy India, Literate India, Prosperous India, Resourceful India, Strong India, Secured India, Sensitive India, Clean India and Corruption and Crime-Free India campaign will never succeed.
National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution is a very prestigious Judicial Commission. Former Chief Justice of India Justice Vankatchalaih was the Chairman and Justice Sarkaria, Justice Jeevan Reddy and Justice Punnaiya were its members. Former attorney General Mr. Keshav Parasaran and Soli Sorabjee and Loksabha Secretary General Mr. Subhash Kashyap were its members. The Member of Parliament Sumitra Jee and late P. A. Sangama were also its members. Senior Journalist C. R. Irani and Mr. Abid Hussain, former ambassador to the US, were also members. The NCRWC, after making immense efforts for two years and elaborate discussion, had suggested addition of Article 47A in the Constitution and formulation of Population Control Law. Till now the Constitution has been amended 125 times, the decision of the Apex Court has been altered twice, hundreds of new laws have been enacted, but population control Law, which is the need of the hour, is not made, though it will solve more than 50% of our problems of India.
Two crore homeless people would give birth to more than 10 crore homeless children on the streets. Many environmentalists, intellectuals, sociologists, educationists, jurists, philosophers, thinkers and journalists agree that population explosion is the root cause of more than 50% problems of our country. The NCRWC, making immense efforts for two years and discussion with all stake holders, had handed over its report to the Union Government on March 31, 2002. Many laws viz. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Right to Education, Right to Information and Right to Food were enacted on its recommendations but the population control law was not even discussed in the parliament. Therefore, National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) recommendations should be tabled in the Upper and Lower House.
Population Explosion On a finite planet, the optimum population providing the best quality of life for all, is clearly much smaller than the maximum, permitting bare survival. The more we are, the less for each; fewer people mean better lives. — Roger Martin, Environmental activist According to a United Nations report, Below Poverty Line (BPL) Population of India was more than 50 crores in 2011. It is not a trivial matter that the population density is at a humongous 404 persons per square kilometre of area, whereas the global density is at a nominal 51 persons per square kilometer. The enormity of the crisis becomes quickly apparent when the population density figures of certain other countries (both developed as well as developing nations) are juxtaposed with that of India. While developed nations such as USA and UK have a population densities of 33 and 271 persons respectively per square kilometre, those in countries of comparable economic conditions such as Brazil and South Africa fair tremendously better with a density figure of 25 and 46 persons per square kilometer respectively. What stands in stark contrast to highlight the magnitude of the crisis is that China, being the most populous country in the world, has a population density of only 144 persons per square kilometre.
The taxpayers are regularly increasing their contribution through taxes to fight poverty but the vote bank politics has been misusing the hard-earned money of taxpayers for past 70 years and there is an utter lack of strategy to banish poverty from the country. India has only 2% land area with a population of about 20% of the world population. Taxpayers have been contributing to the development of India since 1947. The money paid by them in taxes is used for growth, development and security of the nation, services for its citizens and many more. Taxpayers are earning members and real nation builders and it is their responsibility to check whether people’s representatives elected by them and public servants are using their funds properly or not.
It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now. — Sir David Attenborough
Every year population is increasing but the amount of natural resources to sustain this population is diminishing. We have to think about conditions of our natural resources. Now we have no fresh air to breathe, no fresh water to drink, no fresh food to eat etc. India is an agricultural economy but agricultural land is decreasing every year. Same with forests, glaciers, fresh water resources and many more. The only thing that is increasing is population. And the result is drastic increase in unemployment, poverty, starvation, food adulteration, health issues, crime and many more. Supply to demand ratio in our country has a huge difference. Safety and revival of our natural resources are must for us and for our coming generations. Population is quite large and rapidly increasing and 1% percent growth means an addition of about 1.5 crore people every year. Therefore, an effective population control law is the need of hour.
Fertility depends on the age of marriage. Therefore, the minimum age of marriage of female should be raised. Presently, minimum age for marriage is 21 years for male and 18 years for female, which is arbitrary discriminatory and offends Articles 14-15. Petitioner feels that minimum age should be 21 years for both male and female and it should be firmly implemented. There are many more discrimination towards women. They are confined to the four walls of their house. They are still confined to bearing and rearing of children. Female should be given more opportunities to develop socially and economically. Free education should be given to them, but it is impossible without strictly following child marriage act.
Education changes the outlook of people. Educated men prefer to marry late and adopt small family norms. Educated women are health conscious, avoid frequent pregnancies, and thus help in lowering birth rate. Some parents don’t have any child, despite medical treatment. They may be advised to adopt orphan children. It will be beneficial to both. Social outlook of the people should undergo a change. Issueless women should not be looked down upon. More and more people should be covered under-social security schemes. So that they do not depend upon others in the event of old age, sickness, unemployment etc. With these facilities they will have no desire for more children.
It’s noteworthy that as far back as 1976 at the time of implementing 42nd Amendment Act to the Constitution, Entry 20A was inserted in the List III (Concurrent List) to Schedule VII of the Constitution which is “Population Control and Family Planning”. The imperative of the insertion in the Concurrent List is palpable that the federal States also have a say in the matter of population control. However, the years following the said amendment has only brought to light the apathy of respondent in tackling the problem of population explosion, and the entire scheme of population control and family planning has been relegated to goodwill of individual States, while the respondents have largely washed their hands off from this issue. There is not even a single chapter in the school syllabus on the menace of population explosion in the country. The plight of enormous population growth is not a matter which can be solely handled or effectively tackled by the States alone. A high population growth rate cuts across various rights and sectors which can only meaningfully be controlled or tempered by the intervention of the respondents.
Following the 42nd Amendment in 1976, some States such as Haryana has indeed implemented laws to disqualify individuals from contesting elections to local bodies in the circumstance that one has more than two children. However, sporadic changes to law in only certain states shall never manage to yield results. It is therefore, the need of the hour that the respondents take steps to assess and control rapid population growth. In fact, an anomalous situation has arisen due to dispersed nature of these legislations directed towards population control in certain States. While a representative to a local body in the State where population control laws have been implemented stand disqualified for having more than two children, those in other States enjoy a complete immunity from any such disqualification. Thus, an elected representative is subjected to differing standards of public accountability while all along being subjected to same constitutional standards. Therefore, a uniform system of population control strategies and the creation of a national matrix is not only the pressing need of the hour, but is also in line with the constitutional mores. Same shall not only be a manifestation of the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of laws but also go long way in ensuring economic planning to garner constitutional rights to all.
People in urban areas have low birth rate than those living in the rural areas. Therefore, urbanisation should be encouraged in villages. Girl’s marriage should be solemniaed after the age of 21 years. This will reduce the period of reproduction and bring down the birth rate. But, the Executive is not willing to review the minimum age of marriage. Improved standard of living acts as a deterrent to large family norm. In order to maintain higher standard of living people prefer to have small family. According to survey, those who earn less than Rs. 100 per month have on an average a reproduction rate of 4 children and those earn more than Rs. 300 per month have a reproduction rate of 3 children.
Communication media viz. TV, radio and newspaper are the good means to propagate the benefits of the planned family to the uneducated and illiterate persons especially in rural and backward areas of country. The Executive can give various types of incentives to adopt birth control measures. Monetary incentives and other facilities- leave and promotion can be extended to the working class, which adopts small family norms. Other method to check population is to provide employment to women. Women should be given incentive to give services in different fields.
Government has not appropriately formulated and successfully implemented policies to control population explosion. There is no aggressive sterilisation campaign, targeting men and women both. India is world’s most populous country. Teaching poorly educated women about use of contraceptive pills in remote communities is more expensive than mass sterilization campaigns, despite successive years of economic growth, governments have systematically chosen the cheaper option.
The problem of child marriage is highly prominent in many states. A marriage at a tender age leads to a long reproductive span in women. Also marriage at a young age prevents people from acquiring the education and awareness required to be sensitive towards and understand the consequences of raising too many children.
One big drawback of India is that of limited and highly centric medical facilities. Because of the high rural-urban divide, availability of good hospitals and doctors is limited to urban centers thus resulting in high infant mortality rate in rural areas. Rural people, in order to ensure that at least some of their kids survive, give birth to more and more kids thus contributing to population growth. If provided with optimum medical facilities population rate will almost certainly decline.
From above, it is evident that the issue of population control and family planning is not one which can be tackled on a piecemeal basis. The phenomenon of population explosion in this country is a result of multifarious factors, social, economic, health etc. Therefore, development of a national matrix, taking into account these diverse factors is essential for a meaningful strategy to contain population growth.
Not much result can be achieved, if family planning and use of contraception remains optional instead of mandatory. Strict legal steps are required for child marriage, education, abolition of child labor and beggary and family planning to reap significant benefits from it. Proper enforcement of laws related to child labor, slavery and beggary, polygamy will ensure that parents do not sell their children or send them out to work thus forcing them to raise lesser number of kids.
The women folks are not considered equivalent to men in terms of force and might and such opinions are extremely common and it is a major reason for population growth. People keep giving birth to kids in order to have more sons than daughters. Empowering woman with a say in matters concerning them like childbirth and educating them to fight against discrimination will ensure a healthy society.
Child labor, slave trading and human trafficking is highly prevalent. People give birth to kids and sell them to rich people who in turn employ these kids in various laborious and unethical tasks. If not sell, these parents force their kids to beg or work at a very tender so as to earn some extra money for the family. These people believe that more kids mean more hands for begging and work and thus more money. Without concrete measures, other methods will not to be ineffective.
Ensuring that people have easy and cheap access to contraception tools will help avoiding cases of unwanted pregnancies and births. Every state owned hospital should be made to provide cheaply efficient birth control medicines or surgeries since poor people have neither the means not awareness to use contraception. Use of condoms and contraceptives must be advertised and promoted along with ensuring cheap and ready access to these. Contraceptives do not only prove to be an important population control measure but also prevents spreading of sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS thus ensuring small healthy families.
Enormous population is the biggest challenge. Lack of development implies high poverty, illiteracy, discrimination, lack of awareness, lack of medical facilities and thus in turn increased population growth. Any economy is termed developed if its population is non-discriminated. By reducing gender discrimination, ensuring development of whole population instead of a given segment of society would eliminate challenge of population growth. A report has suggested that there would be a significant decline in population if legal age for marriage is 25 years.
Family planning is based on efforts largely sponsored by the government. In 1965-2009 period, contraceptive usage has more than tripled (from 13% of married women in 1970 to 48% in 2009) and fertility rate has more than halved (from 5.7 in 1966 to 2.4 in 2012), but the national fertility rate is still high enough to cause long-term population growth. India adds about 17,500,000 people to its population year. So, the efficacy and success of a national matrix, when undertaken across the country is evident from the above. In light of the same, it is essential that a holistic approach is adopted for population control instead of stand-alone, sporadic and dispersed strategies adopted in a variegated fashion across different states in the country.
Awareness of contraception is near-universal among married women in India. However, the vast majority of married Indians (76% in a 2009 study) reported significant problems in accessing a choice of contraceptive methods. In 2009, 45% of married women were estimated to use contraceptive method, i.e. more than half of all married women did not. About three-fourths of these were using female sterilisation, which is by far the most prevalent birth-control method in India.
Condoms at a mere 3% were the next most prevalent method of population control. Meghalaya at 20% had lowest usage of contraception among all States. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar reported usage below 30%. Comparative studies have indicated that increased female literacy is correlated strongly with a decline in fertility. Studies have indicated that female literacy levels are an independent strong predictor of the use of contraception, even when women do not otherwise have economic independence. Female literacy levels may be the primary factor that help in population stabilization, but they are improving relatively slowly. A study estimated that it would take until 2060 for India to achieve universal literacy and total fertility rate at the current rate of progress.
It is time to implement 24th recommendation of Venkatchaliah Commission on Population Control without further delay. Two Child Norm should be a criteria for govt jobs, aids and subsidies, and, may withdraw statutory rights viz. right to vote, right to contest, right to property, right to free shelter, right to free legal aid, etc. Government should declare First Sunday of every month as ‘Health Day’ in place of ‘Polio Day’ to spread awareness on population explosion and provide contraceptive pill, condoms, vaccines with polio vaccines to EWS and BPL families.
(The writer is petitioner in SC seeking Population Control Law in India)