PM lays stress on need to check ‘population explosion’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday underlined the need to tackle the challenge of population explosion in the country and cautioned that if left unaddressed, it could pose problems for future generations.
“There is one issue I want to highlight today — population explosion. This can create many new crises for us, for our future generation, but it has to be recognised that there is a conscious class in our country, which understands this very well,” Modi said in his Independence Day speech.
The PM also said those who have adopted measures to limit the size of their families have served the nation in their own way.
India’s population, according to a United Nations report in June, is about 1.37 billion, and it is expected to be the most populous country in the world by 2027, by which time its population will exceed China’s.
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort, Modi said parents should carefully weigh whether they can provide a quality life to their children before expanding their families. He said parents cannot leave their children to their own fate or dependent on society.
Even as he applauded the initiative of those who opted for family planning, he nudged state governments and the Centre to come up with policy interventions to work in the area of population control.
The PM’s concerns about population control finds a resonance in the call for a revised population policy for the country given by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The RSS in 2015 passed a resolution at its Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal, demanding that the government should “reformulate the national population policy keeping in view availability of resources in the country, future needs and the problem of demographic imbalance and apply the same uniformly to all.”
Last month, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rakesh Sinha introduced a private member’s bill on population control, which seeks to addresses the larger need to control the country’s burgeoning population and the pressure it puts on natural resources.
Private member’s bills can be introduced by any member of Parliament but there’s almost no possibility of them getting parliamentary nod.
Sinha said his bill does not target any community or religion, but draws attention towards the strain on the resources of the country.
Commenting on the need for population control, Shailaja Chandra, former head of the National Population Stabilisation Fund and former chief secretary of Delhi, said, “The problem of population is limited to a few states such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar; the rest of the country has achieved the ideal fertility rate.”
“What is required is early targeting; we have data at district levels that can show us who to target and incentivise to have children late, ensure proper spacing and avoid unwanted pregnancies,” she added.
India’s total fertility rate [TFR is the average number of children a woman has in her lifetime] is 2.2, with half of the country’s population in 24 states having reached “replacement TFR” of 2.1 or less, which is the average number of children each woman would need to bear to keep a country’s population steady.