World Population Day 2019: Why rising population is a concern, more so for India
New Delhi, July 11: Today is the World Population Day 2019 and it is observed to raise awareness about rising population and the problems associated with it. World population has reached 7.7 billion and it was on July 11, 1987 that the global population reached five billion.
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.
India is the second most populated country in the world behind China and in the next five years - by 2024 - India would surpass China. High population is a problem about which successive governments have been aware and it is not that steps are not being taken to address it. 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.
The United Nations recognises World Population day as an important event to spread information regarding population-related issues across the globe. Unlike every year, this year there is no specific theme but the day aims to draw attention towards maternal health.
Population and economic growth: What's the relation in India's context?
The main impact the growing population has is on the economic growth as a modest increase in national income under economic development is being eaten up by the increase in population. As a result, the per capita income of the country does not grow which in turn results in a poor standard of living. So, the overall development of the country and rise in per capita income are directly linked to population.
The rate of population growth depends on the difference between the birth rate and the death rate. Thus, the population growth experienced in India can largely be explained by variations in birth and death rates. 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.
This means that the birth rate has been falling, but with rapid progress in medical sciences, the death rate has fallen which has ensured that the population grows. Other reasons that have contributed to high birth rates are early marriages, lack of awareness, poverty and illiteracy, and illegal migration.
World Population day quotes:
"Almost half of the population of the world lives in rural regions and mostly in a state of poverty. Such inequalities in human development have been one of the primary reasons for unrest and, in some parts of the world, even violence" - A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
"As a woman leader, I thought I brought a different kind of leadership. I was interested in women's issues, in bringing down the population growth rate... as a woman, I entered politics with an additional dimension - that of a mother" - Benazir Bhutto
"The combination of population growth and the growth in consumption is a danger that we are not prepared for and something we will need global co-operation on".- Maurice Strong
Rapid population growth and technological innovation, combined with our lack of understanding about how the natural systems of which we are a part work, have created a mess"- David Suzuki