Recently, Actor-MP Ravi Kishan called for Population Control bill. The father of 4 children believes that population control bill will make us world leader.
Lok Sabha MP, Ravi Kishan says that we are heading towards population explosion – we’d have become $5 trillion if not for extra population. According to him, once population bill is introduced, development will increase at the speed of a bullet train. This is only for progress, no relation to caste or religion he says.
To Control Or Not To Control
This issue of population is serious. But, politics around population control is more serious than the issue itself. On one hand, Union Minister Giriraj Singh made fresh pitch for stringent population law, and on the other hand, State for Health Minister Bharati Pravin said government is not thinking of any legislative measures for population control. There are therefore two sides to the story – which one is true?
Is population really exploding?
Is one particular community causing population explosion?
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that population imbalance among religions should not happen, as it could lead to anarchy. According to Yogiji, we are trying to educate one community (moolnivasi), whereas, population in another community is rising. So, the CM of Uttar Pradesh advocates population stabilization for all communities – no special treatment for anyone.
So, why is this discussion on population explosion all of a sudden? Recently, UN World Population Prospects 2022 was released. According to the report, world population will reach 8 billion by 2030 and 10.4 billion by 2100. Rising population is a regularly talked about problem, more so than inflation, among the common mass in the country.
“You may think it’s good for China, and they should celebrate it. On the contrary, China is worried by declining population rate, because the glory of China may be lost because of population.”
But, what do the facts say? Let’s see if the numbers convince you.
SITUATION IN CHINA
Let’s first discuss about the losing team in the match of population – China. Population of China in 1980 was 970 million. Fertility rate per woman was 2.6 (it’s an average number). To curb population, one child policy was adopted by China. The result – China’s population is no more rising, it’s declining. Population in China: in 2020 – 1.412 billion, 2021 – 1.4126 billion. In one year, the population of China rose by only 5 lakhs. China’s total fertility rate: in 1980 – 2.6, 1994 – 1.6, 2020 – 1.3, 2021 – 1.15.
You may think it’s good for China, and they should celebrate it. On the contrary, China is worried by declining population rate, because the glory of China may be lost because of population.
Problems faced by China
- Expiry of Labour Productivity – As the number of young labour force is decreasing, because of no population replacement now, that advantage will be lost.
- Increase in Labour Costs – Labour cost will rise as a result (already manufacturers are migrating to Vietnam and Bangladesh). China’s manufacturing labour cost is now double of Vietnam’s.
- Increase in Ageing Population – Ageing population demands more expenditure – social security schemes, medical, etc.
Thus, if there is no population replacement, it is not good for the country. So, China retracted one child policy, launched 2 child policy in 2016 and latest 3 child policy. But, people seems to be unable to afford more kids now.
SITUATION IN INDIA
Now, let’s discuss about the winning team – India. Earlier we were to win population race by 2030, but China’s population stagnated drastically. India to surpass China in a year as per UN. Population of India is rising, but at a slower rate than 30-40 years ago. And because of political statements, there won’t be any population explosion.
Replacement rate is an indicator where a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to another, so the population rise in the country is more or less at a steady pace. The replacement rate, world over, is 2.1. So, on an average, two children per woman will keep population rise steady. That is why the phrase – Hum do humaare do (we two, our two).
India’s replacement rate is slightly less than 2.1. Population explosion happened in the 1950s when fertility rate was 5.9. It dropped to 3.4 in 1992-93 (this was the time when liberalisation started in India). Total fertility rate dropped to 2.2 in 2019-2021. Latest data from National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) 2019-21 shows fertility rate dropped to 2 children, slightly less than the replacement rate.
Sikkim has the least fertility rate in the country, just 1.1. In only five states, fertility rate is more than the replacement rate: Bihar – 2.98, Meghalaya – 2.91, Uttar Pradesh – 2.35, Jharkhand – 2.26 and Manipur – 2.17.
Is Muslim population rising rapidly?
This is by far the most discussed topic on social media. As per NFHS-5, total fertility rate of Muslims decreased from 4.4 in 1992 to 2.6 in 2015. In Hindus, this came down from 3.3 to 2.1. In terms of percentage, Muslim fertility rate declined sharply, and nearing 2.1 gradually.
In fact, fertility rate has decreased in all communities: Christian community – 1.88, Sikh community – 1.61, Jain community – 1.6, Buddhist and New-Buddhist community – 1.39. In the next census, Muslim population will reach stable rate of 2.1 fertility rate.
Reasons include – education, awareness, governmentprogrammes, organisations, better living standard and greater use of modern methods of contraception. When a country develops, the rate of population growth declines.
Given that we are celebrating 75 years of Independence – this is also a great achievement. Our population explosion of the 50s, 60s and 70s has significantly reduced, because of economic prosperity, without imposing policy like China.
Then, what is the problem?
Rising of population is not the problem. The problem is what to do with population advantage. 64% population is in between 15-64 years of age. This is called demographic dividend. But the bonanza of demographic dividend is for limited time – ageing is inevitable. So, this golden ticket should be used well. There is need for employment, skill development, etc. – that should be the major concern.
How much work has been done on this?
- Education Spending – Our education spend of the GDP is 3 – 3.5% which is less than the global average of 4.2%. Comparatively, Brazil spends 6.35 of GDP on education.
- Health Spending – We spend less than 1.29% of GDP on health, whereas, China spends 6.7%. NFHS-5 survey says 67% children under age 5 and 59% girls under the age of 15-19 are anaemic.
- Unemployment – What more is left to even talk or write about it? Unemployment level is 43-year-high, and multiple articles have been written on it, but nobody seems to care.
What is the situation of other countries after the pandemic? As 2.1 is the adequate replacement rate, how are developed countries faring in terms of population? The USA is at 1.7 (lowest or second lowest population growth of the country so far), Canada – 1.5, Italy – 1.3, Spain – 1.3, Hong Kong – 1.1, Singapore – 1.1, South Korea – 1.0. So, population in developed countries is decreasing rapidly – hence the permanent visa approvals.
Global fertility rate: in 1950s – 4.7, 2021-22 – 2.67, and it’s said that the fertility rate will be 1.7 globally, in the coming years. The entire world is trying to combat under-population and collapsing birth rate. Even Elon Musk tweeted “A collapsing birth rate is the biggest danger civilization faces by far.”
But, In India, our politicians will tell us that population is exploding. And because of this population they claim there is noVikasin the country, otherwise they left no stone unturned to bring Vikas home. (slow claps)
Note– The government data shows we are at stable population rate and there is no issue. Ask the ministers – Then, why are they saying that there is a need of Population Control bill? Why are there contrasting statements among the members of the government? Why is this political statement on population? Why convey that one community may be causing population explosion? So, kindly focus on facts.
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