A Poor Man in India. Photo: Rakesh Raman

A Poor Man in India. Photo: Rakesh Raman

In the absence of the right education and employment for them, the young people of India are like time bombs which will explode to bring disaster for the country. ~ Rakesh Raman

Rakesh Raman

Rakesh Raman

The World Population Day, which is observed every year on July 11, will once again remind India about the perils of its unrestrained population growth.

The annual event, which was established by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1989, seeks to raise awareness about the global population issues.

Incidentally, these issues have become the bane of India’s existence, as the country is not able to meet the swelling needs of its people in terms of proper education, health care, transportation, employment, and so on.

Today, with its population of 1.3 billion people, India is facing a grave threat in terms of resource crunch on all fronts as nearly 60% of its people live in extreme poverty, although the government prefers to downplay this fact.

The poverty is so severe in India that many people still live like slaves here. The 2016 Global Slavery Index released by Walk Free Foundation – that aims to end modern slavery – reveals that India has the maximum number of slaves with 18.35 million people working in slavery.

These people are enslaved through human trafficking, child prostitution, forced labour, child labour, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, or commercial sexual exploitation.

Limited Resources

Increasing population with limited resources in India is the main cause of slavery and starvation. With 18% of the world’s total population (7.3 billion people), India has the highest number of world’s poor as more than 20% of the poorest people on earth live in India.

Approximately, one-fourth of Indian population (more than 300 million people) live below the official poverty limit of earning $1.25 per day.

Worse, the population in India is growing at an annual rate of 1.2% as compared to 0.5% in China and 0.7% in America – the other two most populous countries. At this pace, India will surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2022.

Thus, the rich-poor divide will widen and the number of poor will also increase proportionately because the industrial and agricultural growths are either stagnant or declining in India.

Despite the government’s tall claims that economic growth is happening in the country, the number of poor and the poverty are increasing at an alarming rate.

Population Growth Reasons

But why is India not able to check its population growth? Lack of education and absence of policy are the main factors behind the exploding population. Going by the realistic definition of literacy, today not more than 5% of people in India are educated.

The government’s lack of focus on education can be assessed from the fact that one in four children in India is not enrolled in school and only 60% of those who enroll, reach Class 5.

The poor quality of education in India is also reflected in the global Human Development Index (HDI), which is based on parameters such as life expectancy, school enrolment, literacy, and income. Unfortunately, on HDI India stands at a dismal rank of 130 in the world.

But various governments in India have failed to improve the quality of education in the country in order to empower its people to compete in the increasingly connected modern world.

While the last national education policy was made in 1986, in the last three decades the government has not made any attempt to make a new education framework to provide the right education to the people in India.

As the people are not educated enough, it becomes extremely difficult to make them understand the family-planning norms and the risks associated with population growth.

Awareness Programs

Although there is no serious government policy to deal with the menacing population increase, some sporadic attempts are being made to spread awareness about this menace.

Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK), for example, is an initiative towards population stabilization in India. Registered as an autonomous society of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, JSK has been holding various outreach programs to highlight the need for population control.

But the results of all the government-led programs are far from satisfactory. Ironically, the government is bragging about the increasing population in the country.

The government boasts that India is a nation of young people with more than 54% of its 1.3 billion population below the age of 25 years. But the government does not realize that in the absence of right education, these young people are like time bombs.

They will not be able to get the right career without the right education. Then in desperation today’s young people will become tomorrow’s criminals and bring disaster for India.

So, instead of boasting about the increasing number of young people who are making India a country of the poor, dependent society, the government should try to check the population growth and provide the right education to its youth who could appreciate the necessity of small families. Only then India will be able to get rid of the population curse. Do you agree?

By Rakesh Raman, who is the managing editor of RMN Company and runs free schools for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

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