(i) below the poverty line. They are ill

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(i) Population and Poverty: Poverty and population very often go hand in hand. In fact, poverty is both the cause and the effect of rapid growth of population. The mass poverty of our country is due to the rapid growth of population. It is estimated that about 26% [1999-2000] of the people of India still live below the poverty line.

They are ill fed, ill clothed and ill housed. Thus, mass poverty is due to rapid growth of population. (ii) Unemployment and Under Employment: Not only new born individuals are to be fed and sheltered but they are also to be provided with jobs. New jobs are to be created for new hands.

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It is not easy to create jobs. There is already unemployment coupled with under employment. Every year more than 5 million people who attain the working age join the group of job seekers. Job opportunities that are created during the course of the Five Year Plans are not enough to meet the demand.

For instance, the number of the unemployed increased from 12 million at the end of the Third Plan to 16 millions at the end of the Fourth Plan, and to 21 millions at the end of the Fifth Plan. The percentage of the people who did not get employed as per 1991 census was 42.3%. As per the figures for 2003, about 41.39 million individuals were waiting [for jobs] in the live registers of 945 employment exchanges scattered over the whole nation. [Bhagavati Committee estimate]. As per the estimates of the 8th and 9th Plan, there would be 106 million job- seekers in India by 2000 A.D.

(iii) Low Per Capita Income: During the past 50 years of planning, the national income of the country has increased by about 3.6% per annum. But the per capita income has increased only by 1.5% per annum. This low per capita income of the people in India is attributed to the rapid growth of population. (iv) Shortage of Food: The rapidly growing population in India has led to the problem of shortage of food supply.-In spite of the fact that more than two-third of its population engaged in agriculture, people do not get even minimum necessary amount of food.

Even though we have attained self-sufficiency in food production, due to improper distribution, all the people do not get sufficient food to sustain their health. As a result one out of every four is suffering from malnutrition and two out of every four get only half of the daily required quantum of energising food. (v) Increased Burden of Social Overheads: When there is rapid growth of population in the country, the government is required to provide the minimum facilities for the people for their comfortable living. Hence it has to increase educational, housing, sanitation, public health, medical, transportation, communication and other facilities. This will increase the cost of the social overheads. Government finds it difficult to find sufficient funds to meet these “unproductive expenses.” (vi) Population and Labour Efficiency: Since an increase in population reduces per capita income, the standard of living of the people deteriorates. This affects very badly the health and efficiency of the workers.

The physical and the mental efficiency of the workers naturally come down. Labour inefficiency reduces productivity and the nation at large loses very heavily. (vii) Population and the Standard of Living: The standard of living denotes the way in which people live. It reflects the quantity and the quality of the consumption of the people.

Due to the rapid growth of population standard of living of the people has been adversely affected. (viii) Population and Pressure on Land: Overpopulation inevitably leads to heavy pressure on land. Since land is limited and fixed in supply, an increase in population can only bring more pressure on it. Hence the new born people will have to share the land with the existing people. With the exception of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, in all the other states heavy density of the population is to be found. Further, per head availability of the land for cultivation in the 1911 was 1.1 acres, and this has declined to 0.3 acres in 1992.

On the contrary, the average size of the agricultural land that each person could get is 2.59 acres in Russia, and 2.68 acres in America. (ix) Increased Unproductive Consumers: When there is a rapid growth of population in a country like India, there will be large proportion of unproductive consumers.

In fact, today about 51 % of the total population of India is unproductive. Rapid increase in the population contributes to an increase in the dependency ratio. (x) Slow Economic Development: Economic development is bound to be slower in a country in which the population is growing at a very fast rate. Absence of savings results in low capital formation.

The shortage of capital has restricted investments and contributed to the slow economic growth of the country. (xi) Political Unrest: Unmanageable population size may contribute to political instability and unrest. The failure of the government to provide the basic minimum facilities to the people contributes to agitation and unrest among the masses. It is true that India is gripped by the problem of over-population. It has shaken the stability, integrity and the security of the nation. The progress that has been made is being eaten up by the growing population. A careful study of the adverse effects of population leads us to realise the need to control it.

We cannot destroy or remove our large population so as to bring it down to the optimum level. We can only control it. “If population is not checked our progress would be like writing on sand with waves of population growth washing away what we have written.”


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