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Assam to adopt two-child norm; How is India dealing with population problem, explained

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New Delhi, Oct 22: India is world's second most populated country behind China. China strictly implemented 'one-child policy' in the 1979 and by 2024, India would be the most populous country. Successive governments in India have recognised this high population problem and steps have also been taken to address it.

Assam Cabinet on Monday decided that those with more than two children would not be eligible for government jobs. The new family planning norm would come into effect from January 1, 2021.

Image representation only

Multiple states in India have adopted a limited two-child policy which means that it is not imposed or enforced, but tries to encourage people towards it by giving incentives. Some governments have gone a step further by creating disincentives. Like depriving those with more than two children from certain government benefits. At least 11 governments before Assam have implemented a policy which prohibits persons with more than two children from serving in government.

Encouraging the use of contraceptives has yeilded results. In 1970, 13% of married women used modern contraceptive methods, which rose to 35% by 1997 and 48% by 2009.

The problems with high population:

Rising population brings a lot of problems along with it. The resources on our planet are limited and if the population keeps increasing at the current rate, we are bound to face a scarcity of resources. To get an idea how serious this problem is we must know this fact that India has over 16 percent of the world population, but its land area is merely 2.4% of the land area of the world.

[World Population Day 2019: Why rising population is a concern, more so for India]

The main impact the growing population has is on the economic growth as the benefits of increased national income under economic development would be offsets by high population.

As a result, the per capita income of the country does not grow which in turn results in a poor standard of living.

How population grew to alarming levels?

In 1900, India's population was roughly 238 million. In 1950-51, India's population was 361 million. According to 2001 census it was 1,027 million. The population started soaring in the 1950s and saw the highest decadal growth of 24.8 per cent in the 1960s and 24.7 per cent in the 1970s. Since the 1980s, decadal growth has been falling and the 1990s saw a significant fall. In fact, India's total fertility rate - a measure of the number of children born to a woman during her lifetime - was down from 5.9 in 1951 to 2.3 in 2011. The fertility rate due to the population policies and other measures has been falling but even then it is much higher compared to other countries.

The birth rate has been falling, but with rapid progress in medical sciences, even the death rate has fallen

sharply. Other reasons that have contributed to high birth rates are early marriages, lack of awareness, poverty and illiteracy, and illegal migration.

The trend now...

From 1965-2009, contraceptive usage has more than tripled (from 13 percent of married women in 1970 to 48% in 2009) and the fertility rate has more than halved (from 5.7 in 1966 to 2.4 in 2012). In 1951, India became the first country in the developing world to create a state-sponsored family planning program, the National Family Planning Program. Twenty Indian states have dipped below the 2.1 replacement rate level and are no longer contributing to Indian population growth, as per Wikipedia. The total fertility rate of India stands at 2.2 as of 2017. Four Indian states have fertility rates above 3.5 - Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland of these, Bihar has a fertility rate of 4.0 births per woman, the highest of any Indian state.

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