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Essay on “Development and Population Control” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Development and Population Control

Essay No. 01

According to many analysts, development is the best contraceptive”. But if we look at India, there seems to be some doubt about the truth of this statement. In India, planned development and family planning have been going on for over five decades now. But our population problem has only become more disturbing over the time.

The fruits of development are seen on the food front where production has gone up three and a half times since 1951. Life expectancy has increased, so has the gross domestic product. We are among the first 15 countries in terms of industrial production. Schools have proliferated. However, population growth has not slowed down much.

The increase in population, in fact, dilutes every improvement in India’s national development. If the population rise had been contained, the same economic achievements would have resulted in a significant development of our people.

The gap between GDP and per capita income indicates the adverse effect of a large population on standard of living. Another aspect of development in India is the skewed distribution of growth, which has denied any effective rise in the living standards of most Indians. Nearly 30 per cent of the people still live below poverty line and many just hover over the border line. The benefits of developments have been mostly cornered by a small percentage of people with only some small portions ‘Trickling” down to the majority. The existing standard of living is just about maintained so that there is a low death rate but no appreciably high reduction in the birth rate.

An economist would say there has been a failure on the population front rather than in development. Then, surely, development cannot be “the best contraception’. A population expert would say that if the development efforts have not led to any significant reduction in the population growth, it is because of the low rate of economic or production growth vis-a-vis the rapid population growth and the unequal distribution of the small benefits. The 25 per cent or so of our people who have benefited from the development process have generally shown a significant fall in birth rate to maintain a substantial rise in their living standards. For the remaining 75 per cent the rise in the living standards is so marginal that it has simply resulted in lowering of the death rate without a corresponding decline in the birth rate. Thus, it is net development and the distributive factor of its benefits that are critics for the development process to be effective in controlling the population growth.

Two ways are possible to overcome this problem. Either increase the economic growth rate to at least three or (our times the present population growth rate ever while ensuring equitable distribution, or reduce the population growth drastically to one third or so of what exists now, again keeping in mind the distribution aspect. Raising the economic growth rate substantially poses some difficulties. Harnessing our natural resources further will take much effort and discipline. A high growth rate is also bound to cause serious damage to the ecological balance, for we are not technologically so advanced or so well-endowed financially to buy environmental-friendly development processes. The other alternative of bringing down population through a vigorous and effective promulgation of family planning programme at once conjures up the nightmare of the Emergency days.

However, when we talk of development, we may enlarge the term’s meaning to include human development. It is only through developing human beings—through literacy, education and better health facilities—that we can hope to have an impact on population growth. Mere economic development will not do so. If the State concentrates on what is called the “social sectors” and provide for development with a human face, only then can we have healthy and aware human beings who will have a stake in keeping the size of their families small.

 

Essay No. 02

 

Population and Development

Population and development share a peculiar relationship with each other. Neither is sustainable without the other; yet too much of either will adversely affect both. In advanced countries, education, healthcare and gainful employment ensure that the level of development is remarkably high. But despite their wealth and comforts, people in these countries generally have a preference for smaller families, which has caused an alarming decline in their numbers. In India, on the other hand, the pressure of a near billion-strong population is proving to be unbearable on both the development process and the population alike.

Development plans and programmes become useless, because the rapid growth of population forces changes in them even before they start yielding results. Hence, for the welfare and well-being of society, either the growth rate of population should be reduced, or the efficiency of planning should be improved, so that its benefits are obtained quickly. Since development work cannot be accelerated beyond a limit, the only option available to ensure useful social development is to control population growth.

Population control is, however, only the easier of the two options. It is in itself not an easy task. In Indian society, with its special features like poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and casteism, making the people appreciate the advantages of population control is a difficult exercise. The failure to reduce population growth rate, despite adopting family planning as a state policy for over four decades, is a clear indication of this difficulty. The main drawback of India’s potion policy is the focus is more on the aim of population control, i.e. reducing the number of people, than on the cause of population growth. More than out of a desire for them, people prefer large families owing to such factors as poverty, low life expectancy, high rates of infant mortality and poor education. With lifespan and mortality rates being what they are, the people, by opting for large families, are actually giving themselves the best possible means to survive. For them, an addition to the family means two more hands to work, rather than one more mouth to feed; and more hands to work mean increased earnings. Their concern is more for survival than for personal health or happiness. In other words, while the state gives priority to the welfare of society in general, over that of the individual, the individual’s priorities are just the reverse. This obvious mismatch between the priorities of the government and those of the people, is the root cause of the failure of India’s population policy. The policy can be salvaged only if this mismatch instead, is eliminated. For that, governments should abandon their attempts at direct solutions and instead initiate such programmes which will make the people recognize the virtues of small families. Governments should realize that the real solution to the population problem is related more to aspects of social welfare and economic uplift than to the methods of birth control or biology.

Another aspect that needs modification is the outlook towards the size of the population. A billion is certainly a huge figure but it is not so big that it cannot be sustained by the available area and resources. The approach to the issue of population should, therefore, be with hope and optimism, rather than with fear and despair.

Proper management of the population, with particular concern for its welfare, and optimum utilization and exploitation of natural resources to sustain the population, should be the key factors to solve its problems. While proper healthcare will lower infant mortality rates and raise life expectancy, suitable and widespread education will enable the people to understand the benefits of population control better.

With an average population density of three hundred, it is too early for us to worry about congestion, and about pressure on natural resources. It is estimated that, for much of urban India to have the population density of the city of London, only an additional one percent of the already available area is required. Congestion in urban areas is not therefore a serious problem yet, as it is made out to be. It can be satisfactorily solved by properly using the available land area. Like the worry about congestion, our feeling of hopelessness about inadequate fertile lands and water resources is also unfounded.

While we worry about our shortages, we fail to realize the extent to which we waste or neglect our resources. If Israelis can, by their hard work and intelligence, make the Negev desert bloom, we should not have much difficulty in putting our vast areas of wastelands to better use. By utilizing our resources properly, and by taking care of our welfare, we shall realize that we can actually accommodate a much bigger population than what we have. A study by the F.A.O. indicates that we can actually support a population well over a billion, even by adopting only the traditional methods of agriculture and food production.

Obviously, the real problems that we face are those of mismanagement and unimaginative planning. They make our problems of population and resource inadequacy seems unduly severe.

The mistaken approach of the governments towards population continues in the area of development also. Though the governments started off promisingly by rightly focusing on infrastructure development and industrialization, the confusion which crept into their priorities later on, jeopardized the thrust on development. If the governments’ policy of labour-intensive industries caused the decline in labour productivity, their encouragement of self-employment ventures in the manufacturing sector failed, because of the inadequate support they gave entrepreneurs in marketing products.

The governments’ role in the agricultural sector is another illustration of their unwise development policies. Taking advantage of the record levels of food grains production in recent years, the governments could have encouraged food processing and similar agro-based industries to produce value-added products for the export market. Cornflakes will fetch more money than roasted corn; just as butter and cheese enjoy more consumption than plain milk. Besides increasing export earnings, these industries will provide employment to many

Fortunately, the governments in recent times have started reviewing their policies critically. The changes they have introduced in many of their policies seem to suggest that they are serious about improving their performance. Hopefully, the change in their attitude and thinking should encourage them to take a fresh look at population, development and the management of resources. It may be remembered that nothing is more important in governance than correct perspective, correct attitude, correct understanding and correct action.

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