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Population in India
The population of an area refers to the number of people living in that area. The current population of India is 1,343,832,802 as in August 2017, based on the latest estimates of the United Nations. In India the density of population is 452 per square kilometer. 32.8% of the population is urban.
The median age of the population is 27 years approximately. At present India occupies the second position in the list of most populated countries of the world. Indian population is equivalent to 17.86% of the world’s population.
India is projected to be the most populated country by 2022 even exceeding the population of China and becoming the first nation in history to have nearly 1.5 million people in it. In 2050 the estimated population of India is expected to reach 1.7 billion.
Reasons for the growth of population in India
India is currently facing the problem of population explosion or overpopulation. There are several reasons for this. All of them are socio-economic and socio-cultural reasons.
Poverty and Lack of education
A large section of the Indian population is below the poverty line. They have very little or no education and are even unable to acquire the basic necessities of life. In such cases there is no or little knowledge of family planning and birth control measures. The size of their families also keeps increasing.
Child marriages and regressive rituals
Due to lack of education many regressive practices and out-dated rituals are followed in Indian society. These are child marriages, early marriages etc. Due to the prevalence of such practices the fertility age of women is higher and longer.
Thus they can produce many children. The custom of producing a son is given so much importance that many families keep producing daughters till a son is born. This leads to a growth in the size of the family and thus an increase in the country’s population.
Illegal migration and the refugee influx
From neighbouring countries like Nepal, Afghanistan and Bangladesh there is a regular influx of refugees and illegal immigrants. These people enter and settle down in India either due to the political problems and unrest in their country or due to some natural calamity like floods and earthquakes which leads to massive loss of livelihood and property.
Many of them work as labourers or workers or small term salesmen and remain unaccounted for even in the census as they have no identity proof. This leads to a huge increase in the population.
Effects of Overpopulation
There are various adverse effects of overpopulation. It hampers the development of a nation by exerting immense pressure on its resources and infrastructure.
An increase in the population means a sharp fall in the rate of employment as jobs cannot be generated in sufficient quantity for each working member of the national labour force. Thus many people will remain unemployed and crimes may rise. Also the per capita income will fall leading to a fall in the national income which will then indicate underdevelopment of the country.
Over exploitation of Natural Resources
An increase in the population will lead to overburdening of natural resources like water, agriculture and minerals. Food will not be produced in adequate quantity and minerals and other resources will be over exploited and depleted with time.
Decline of infrastructure
An increase in population will lead to an excessive burden on infrastructure like roads, railways, industries etc. Hydro-electric power, sanitation facilities, traffic will all be affected adversely since the quantity and supply of the same will never adequately meet the ever-increasing demand.
Methods of Controlling Population
There are several measures that can be taken to control population. The first and foremost is enhancing literacy and spread of mass education.
Through widespread education and health awareness especially in rural India, men and women can be made to understand that having more than two children is risky for personal health and social welfare. Through education and literacy, people can be informed about methods of birth control, family planning and the ways of rearing one or two children well so that their family can develop and so can the country.
Increasing the marriage age
Through education the people can be informed about the risks and dangers of childhood and early marriages which lead to increased child bearing and thus a rise in the population.
The Government can increase the legal age of marriage in both boys and girls to 21 and 23 respectively and thus ensure that child marriages and early teenage marriages are banned legally. This will lead to drop in child-bearing.
Incentives and Schemes and Employment Opportunities
Incentives given for the single child, the girl child and the nuclear family will generate interest in the desire to cultivate small families. Small -scale and cottage industries providing sources of employment for women will ensure that women play a leading part in deciding not to produce too many children.
The population of a country must be balanced according to its size and its capacity for development. Only then can the country achieve progress.