OVERPOPULATION IN INDIA- A threat to its people: India is the second most populous country in the world, after China. Overpopulation is among the more serious problems that our country is facing, as it accounts for more than 1.20 billion people of the over 7 billion population of the world.
Interestingly, USA, that ranks 3rd in the list of most populated countries of the world, is inhabited by 311.1 million people who comprise just 1/4th of India’s population. This gap become even more astonishing when considered that the USA is three times larger than India in size.
Some of the Indian states outnumber several countries in population. Uttar Pradesh with a population of 166 million leaves behind the Russian Federation, home to 146.9 million people. Similarly, Orissa’s population exceeds that of Canada, and Chhattisgarh’s that of Australia.
CAUSES OF OVERPOPULATION
- Increased Life Expectancy: While the average annual birth rate in India, which was 42 per thousand in 1951-61, decreased to 24.8 per thousand in 2011, the country has seen its decadal death rate decline to 8.5 in 2001-2011 from 42.6 in 1901-1911. Since the death rate has also gone down sharply, the population has tended to grow very fast in India.
- Lack of family planning: If we add the number of miscarriages (6.20 lakh in 2010-11) in the country with an estimated number of births (2.05 crore in 2010-11) in one year, even in this age of family planning, one woman, on an average, is pregnant at any time in the age group of 15-45 years. All this happens because a large number of people in our country are illiterate with no awareness about the various advantages of family planning and the ill-effects of overpopulation on society.
- Early marriage: Child marriage is one of the major social problems of our country. Even today, a large number of boys and girls are married at an age when they are not prepared for family responsibilities either socially, emotionally, physically and mentally. Marriage at unripe age also leads to higher mortality rate of infants.
- Lack of education: The failure of family planning is directly related to large-scale illiteracy that also contributes to early age of marriage, low status of women, high child-mortality rate etc mentioned above. Uneducated families cannot grasp the issues and problems caused by the increasing population rate. They are least aware of the various ways to control population, usage of contraceptives and birth control measures.
- Religious reasons: The people who are conservative and orthodox are opposed to the use of family planning measures. Women in such families are not allowed to take part in family planning because they are not supposed to go against the wishes of God. There are also women who argue that children are born with God’s will and women are destined to give birth to children.
Muslim households have more birth rates than Hindu communities. Surveys among Muslims from time to time have found that despite the awareness of modern family planning measures, most respondents, both women and men, are against their use due to religious reasons and fatalistic outlook.