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Overpopulation and How to deal with it: The Way Forward for India

Food is something that is taken for granted by most of us.

Almost one in seven people around the world are chronically hungry. Among many others, Overpopulation is one of the significant causes of food insecurity. Yes, a growing population indeed leads to more empty stomachs day by day. India is the second-most populous nation in the world, comprising 14% of the world’s total population. In the Global Hunger Index, India ranks 102nd out of the 117 qualifying countries. Food production depends on croplands and water supply, which are under strain as the human population increases.

A growing population will worsen climate change effects and further increase food insecurity. Climate change reduces agricultural yields and the nutritional value of crops. Uneven distribution of food through the Public Distribution System is also a cause of food insecurity in India as the deserving candidates of subsidy are excluded just because they don’t have BPL cards. The Government has extensive food security and anti-poverty programmes, but there are critical gaps in terms of inclusion, implementation, distribution, and exclusion errors.

Currently, at the time of writing, we are on an estimated count of 7.64 billion. The irony of human Overpopulation is, we are controlling the growth of every other species on earth except our own. The most interesting fact that every second that passes, there are 4.3 births and 1.8 deaths which leads to the plus in population.

Several factors contribute to Overpopulation. Some of the leading ones are-

  • Poverty is believed to be the leading cause of Overpopulation. A lack of educational resources, coupled with high death rates leading to higher birth rates, result in impoverished areas seeing large booms in population.

  • The UN has predicted that the forty-eight most impoverished countries in the world are also likely to be the most significant contributors to population growth. Their estimates state that the combined population of these countries is expected to balloon to 1.7 billion in 2050, from 850 million in 2010.

  • Improvement in medical technology has led to lower mortality rates for many serious diseases. Such advances have practically eradicated particularly dangerous viruses and ailments such as polio, smallpox, and measles.

  • Though it only plays a minor role in comparison to the other causes of Overpopulation, improved fertility treatments have made it possible for more people to have children.

  • Our progress in food production, resulting in year-round crops, edible quality seeds & effective pesticides & improvements in livestock has contributed to the provision of more food to nourish the population.

The population is rising, though humans have proved to be the most inefficient water users. The average hamburger that you might be holding in your hands right now with a can of coke while reading this blog took 2400 litres or 630 gallons of water & 1 litre of water for your 250ml coke respectively.

So, the question arises-

“Are the prisons overpopulated, or is the population over-imprisoned?”

The perfect explanation can be-

” Behave like Thanos for the future generation & Be like Tony Stark for the present age."

The Way Forward:

The Government should come out with a comprehensive Revised National Population Policy to implement the provisions of adopting small families. There should be provisions for accessible affordable and quality reproductive health care services across the public health system across the country. These provisions must be supplemented with inter-sectoral and inter-ministerial synergies towards strengthening the key areas of primary and secondary education, access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities in the household, Housing for all, affordable health care for all and economic/livelihood opportunities- particularly for women.

The Government should make concerted efforts towards promoting the value of girl child at par with the male child and ensure the equal participation of women in social, economic, and political spheres.

The employee of the Central Government or a Public Sector enterprise under the control of the Central Government who adopts small family norm by undergoing sterilization operation himself or of the spouse shall be given: —

  • One additional increment during the entire service;

  • Subsidy towards the purchase of plot or house site or built house from Housing Board or Development Authority of the Government as may be prescribed;

  • Loan for construction or purchasing a home from Banks or financial institutions on a nominal rate of interest;

  • Rebate on income tax, as may be prescribed;

  • Subsidy for travel by road, rail or air, as may be prescribed;

  • Rebate on charges for utilities such as electricity, water, house tax, vehicle registration, telephone, etc., as may be prescribed

The Central Government should also provide additional incentives, including, but not limited to —

  • Paternity leave of 12 weeks, with salary and allowances for up to two children;

  • Two percent increase in the employer’s contribution under a pension scheme for employees having up to two children;

  • Free healthcare facility and insurance coverage to parents;

  • Free healthcare facility to single child till he attains the age of twenty-five years;

  • Preference to a single child in admission in all educational institutions, including, but not limited to AIIMS, IIT, NIT and IIM and in all government jobs; and

  • Free education up to graduation level and scholarship for higher studies beyond graduation for single girl children.

Whoever in contravention of small family norm procreates more than two children, should be ineligible to avail incentives and benefits provided in this Act and besides to it shall -

  • Receive a reduction in subsidies in matters of different loans extended to him;

  • Receive reduced benefits of the Public Distribution System to be determined by the appropriate Government;

  • Be eligible for a loan from the Bank or financial institution at higher than the existing interest rates;

  • Receive lower interest rates on saving instruments in Banks and investment instruments in equity shall; and

  • Not be entitled to such other facilities as may be prescribed.

But why do we need to implement these strategies? Why is Overpopulation being discussed suddenly? Because earlier, it was just a population increase. But now, it is a population explosion, and hence, it is the primary cause of increasing Hunger and Unemployment in our country. If the issues concerned with Overpopulation had been discussed a little earlier on our dining tables, government policies had been strictly followed. Then maybe the situation could have been a bit better.

SAKONSA has been striving hard to tackle hunger and poverty. We have been visiting the villages time and again to listen to spread the message of Overpopulation. Our volunteer team through street plays on this issue, tried to cover the concern over the problem.

On a concluding note, we should always keep in our mind-

“We have not inherited the world from our forefathers, but borrowed from our children.”

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