Climbing down India’s population spiral
Editorial

Climbing down India’s population spiral

Mother earth gives protection to all the living beings without discrimination. Sadly, the same courtesy is not being reciprocated by different classes among the inhabitants, human beings at large asserting their right to enjoy the earth’s bounty over the rest. The planet is currently bearing the load of an estimated headcount of more than 700 crore with India’s share of about 130 crore and counting. Even as the country’s population spiral is winding skyward, the imperatives of climbing down the spiral are not to be ignored but showing no signs of being accepted for action. The ratio between haves and have-nots, in the matter of availability of essentials of life, particularly water and food, is getting skewed against the latter section in the country’s population in particular and the global mass of humans in general, barring a few regions in the western world. In that backdrop, talk of equal rights over earth’s resources sounds purely theoretical and academic.

Demography of the country, being in a volatile state, is heading to a scenario of a rising proportion of urban residents in the total headcount at an unprecedented rate year-on-year, for which the underlying reasons are not far to seek. Foremost reason is that agriculture, the mainstay of livelihood of the rustics, being unremunerative with unattractive income compared to the urban feature. Strategies for keeping in check the populations of these distinct regions are not similar.

Educating the girls in the family is being prescribed in many circles for reducing the upward spiralling of India’s population. That prescription has been followed by urban families to an extent that leaves no further scope for its compliance. As far as the rural families are concerned, the advisory of educating girls faces the hurdle of virtual absence of schools and teaching staff in rural parts, barring a minor proportion of prosperous villages where agriculture is robust. The inference that the headcount in any given city tends to be self-limiting due to steeply reduced living space per resident has been belied totally, with any of the metros serving as testimony. Passing laws restricting families from having just one or two issues falls flat because such measures are perceived as regimentation.

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In the debate on action aimed at addressing the population spiral, an important point crops up. The ideologues of well-marked faiths and major political parties relentlessly claim share in various privileges under government aegis based on the populations of the respective faiths and activists of the parties. That drives the nail in the coffin of prospects for climbing down the population spiral for all time.

February 3, 2018

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