Projections indicating that India will become the world’s most populous nation, with limited resources and minimal family planning policies, pose major challenges for this nation with the world’s largest number of poor people.
The latest World Population Prospects report predicts that India will be home to 1,429 million people by 2023 – overtaking China earlier than expected – highlighting the urgency even among the world’s largest poor population.
According to the 1941 Indian census, the country’s population was just over 360 million, meaning the country had quadrupled its population since gaining independence from the British Empire in 1947.
In India, high birth rates have historically been associated with poverty, high infant mortality and low educational attainment among women.
India vs. China
Unlike China, India’s population growth has led to “higher poverty, unemployment, health problems, more slums”; In short: “This will not be a good thing,” said the author of the book Population and Society A.K. Sharma told Efe.
In developing countries, gradual population growth has quite different effects than in developed countries, where population growth spurs investment and growth.
But for India, he said, “there is no benefit from population growth”.
In addition, he added, with a large territorial expansion and a Chinese-like government model, development planning has different results than those expected in China than those expected in India, home to 18 percent of the world’s population.
According to the researcher and university professor, the country needs a family planning policy, especially aimed at the poor, which is precisely the fastest growing sector of society.
Looking for a son
Deeply traditional and largely rural, India has certain elements that lead to population growth and unchecked growth of households in the most vulnerable strata.
One of them is the deep-rooted preference in families, a common preference in the Asian country’s patriarchal society, that prioritizes the perpetuation of tradition.
That means families, especially in rural areas, are looking for a son and have as many children as possible, sociologist SK Chaudhary told Efe.
Within a society like India, this is a big problem. Culture doesn’t change overnight. People’s conscience should come here,” he added.
According to Sharma, India needs a legal framework for population planning that is designed so that it does not become a draconian restriction affecting the family and children.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already mentioned in the past the importance of birth control and the problems that population growth poses to the next generation, in terms of density and available resources.
The consequences for a population like India, which still faces severe health, infrastructure and development issues, were felt during the coronavirus pandemic.
Scenes from the country’s second outbreak in May last year exposed the fragility of an overburdened system that was inadequate to care for the thousands of people who went to hospitals and the hundreds of millions of patients admitted every day. .
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