Friday, September 10, 2010


July 11th, mark the day, is the World Population Day. It seeks to raise awareness of global population issues.

What do you think about this? Population is a good thing or bad?? The world over, it is generally believed that increase in population results in decrease of standard of living. True. You have one more person to share your resources.
it is is like I have Rs. 100/- and will divide equally amongst everyone.( Well, i know it is not a socialist society we live in). Now if the population is 100, each one gets Rs.1/-. great. If the population was 125 rather, each one would get Rs. .80. That is a good 20% less than what they were getting earlier. So, obviously on the outset it seems the increase in population is a bad thing. I get lesser to live.

What would you do? What would your reaction be? Would you dash out onto the streets excitedly, thanking God and start celebrating the arrival of an extra eighteen million people bringing with them long-awaited economic prosperity? Or would you go into some kind of a panic and perhaps start thinking of applying for a permanent residence in neighbouring Bangladesh?

In the mid-1970s, India was so worried about its explosive population growth that policemen and officials travelled to villages to sterilise men, who hid in sugar cane fields or climbed trees to avoid vasectomies.
School teachers, under pressure to meet family planning targets given to them by the government, forced fathers of their students to sterilise, before a public outcry drove authorities to abandon these desperate attempts.

Nearly three decades on, a new, non-coercive policy -- emphasising education of women and health care rather than demographic control -- has thrown up surprising results.

Population growth has slowed from four percent in the 1960s to about 1.7 percent now, fuelling hopes of stable growth by the middle of the century in a country with the world's second largest population at 1.1 billion people. (source:Financial Express)

Now i would like to believe optimistically that population growth could turn out to be a boon to the economy, one of the fastest growing in the world. Since half of India's population is younger than 25, it gives the country a potential edge over China, where an ageing population -- the result of a one-child policy – could slow its economy by 2030.

It is an advantage for India now because the country is entering the demographic dividend phase while China is exiting it.

Demographic dividend refers to a period -- usually 20 to 30 years -- when a greater proportion of people are working, which cuts spending on dependants, aiding economic growth.

Well, like all good things in life, there is a catch. Whether India can benefit from its young population will depend on economic development and equitable social development. Education will sure play a very important rule, and equitable growth from all corners would ensure benefit-ting the whole nation in general, rather than just increasing the rich-poor divide.

Don't get me wrong, i am a staunch supporter of capitalism, and survival of the fittest theory, what i am trying to emphatize is the importance of opportunities that should be given to the lower strata such that it becomes a level playing field.

Until now, the world blamed India for its huge population, but now it could envy it.

The above article was inspired from this ad, being shown in Delhi metro.

On an ending note, i would like to make clear, that the question about population growth and its relationship to economic growth and development has bedevilled economists for decades, if not centuries, and it is not a yes-no answer to it. And of-course, this phenomena, which i am considering a boon now, could turn into a bane in no time, if the growth from now on is not controlled, and the socio-economic divide just keeps increasing.

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