We are all aware of how big of a problem is overpopulation in our country Resources get dwindled due to overpopulation environmental destruction gets aggravated and problems like unemployment increase As a part of the solution, state governments like that of Assam have decided to bring in the two-child policy It has been declared, especially in Assam, that if one has more than two kids after 2021 then government jobs would be denied and one would be debarred from contesting local body elections and panchayat elections
There are efforts being made to bring in a population control bill even at the Central Government level, In fact, a population control bill was even tabled in the Rajya Sabha which proposed to implement two-child policy all across the country Under this proposal, the people who have more than two kids would be denied any government jobs government subsidies would be denied and (they would be) excluded from a lot of government schemes So much so, that some people even proposed that their voting rights should also be stripped off the ones who have more than two children Is this the right method to fight overpopulation?
Is It a Good Step?
Come, let us analyze, First of all, I would like to inform you that Assam is not the sole state to be bringing in such a law has already been brought in, in at least 12 states of our country It has been enforced and then been repealed in some of the states including Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand
This law has been repealed in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh The ones against this policy say that this will have a deleterious effect on women for example if a politician has to contest elections and his wife birthed a third child So he would simply abandon his wife or divorce her in order to contest the elections and the woman would be left alone with three children When listened to, this effect seems a little exaggerated but very often, these undesired consequences stem from such policies After the implementation of the two-child policy, what would be the consequences and effects? We would have to look at the outside world to find out What have been such similar examples that have been tested out and what have been there results?
Child Policy of China
One good example of this would be China’s one-child policy A lot of people believe that a policy like China’s one-child policy should also be introduced in our country because look at how far China has progressed and how far behind have we been left due to overpopulation but these people are unaware of the fact that China’s one-child policy had in fact, been a huge failure China had introduced its one-child policy in 1979 to control its population but its negative consequences became very clear 2005
The problem lay in the fact that Chinese society, very much like Indian society, is very gender-biased If they could give birth to only one child, then people preferred to have a male child which led to rampant female foeticide and abortions and in the period between 2005 to 2008, China had one of the world’s worst gender ratios 120 men: 100 females This means that in 2011, there were 34 million more men in comparison to women in China Due to this, a practice of “bride price” began in China in which the families of the females were bribed and offered money to marry their sons Another problem was 4-2-1 problem Now what is this 4-2-1?
This is basically an indication of the family tree Due to the one-child policy, there would be 4 grandparents, two parents(their kids) which would then have one kid 4-2-1 means that when the grandparent’s age, then the two parents will have to support the four grandparents and when the parents get old, then one child will have to support 6 people which means, he will give their pensions, bear their health care costs, Therefore, the economic system would not be able to sustain this A lot of developed countries are facing this problem today which have not been able to come up with a proper solution to this, for example, Japan and a lot of Western European countries
They increase immigration to encourage people to come in from other foreign countries They want the young population to come into their country which would enable them to sustain their old age population So as to avoid this 4-2-1 problem This might seem very shocking to hear but underpopulation is fast becoming a problem in a lot of countries in today’s times Think about it, if the old age population increases this would lead to a lot more people who would demand pensions who are not working, but are receiving money from the society And if the working-age population/ young age populations decrease, then the population of the people who are working to generate money would decrease
Then these people would have to work more to sustain the old age population Therefore China revoked its one-child policy in 2015 and brought in a two-child policy to encourage people to give birth to more children In fact in countries like Singapore and Germany, extra money is provided by the government if the citizens of these countries give birth to more children Keep in mind that this is merely an economic problem because our economic system is designed this way Looking at other aspects like environmental aspects or resources aspects, then obviously, under-population is a good thing If there are fewer people on this planet, then its environment could be protected better
Sterilization in India
Another historical track record of a similar policy is present in our country between 1975-1977 There was forced sterilization under the Indira Gandhi government That is people, especially the poor, were forced to get sterilized In fact 11 million people were sterilized during the period of 2 years Now you would think that since 11 million people in our country have been stopped from reproducing, then obviously this should have a huge effect on the population growth of our country But if you look at the charts of population growth, this did not make even an iota of difference Despite the forceful sterilization of so many people, our population continued to grow at the same pace
So this method is absolutely an ineffective one This too, had a lot of negative consequences The first negative consequence would be who are you in the first place to say that one cannot reproduce? And the second negative consequence was that this sterilization was done in such a hasty manner that people contracted diseases and there were around 1800 reported deaths due to this forced sterilization So if none of the forced population control measures are successful and a lot of negative consequences arise So now you could ask what are the measures(solutions) to control the population? The solution is pretty simple Development in education, healthcare as well as economic development As proof of this,
I would like to show you the statewide breakdown of the different states in India and you would notice a direct relationship between the fertility rate and literacy rate Fertility rate is the number of children a woman produces on an average rate Literacy rate shows the level of literacy in a population The states which have a low fertility rate, for example, the fertility rate in Kerala is 1.8 the literacy rate there is one of the highest And on the other hand, the states that have a low literacy rate, for example, Bihar has one of the lowest literacy rates at 63%, the fertility rate there is one of the highest Bihar has the highest fertility rate in India at 3.5 That is, on average, a woman in Bihar gives birth to 3.5 children The exact same relation can be observed between per capita income and fertility rate
That is, the people who earn more give birth to fewer kids and between infant mortality rate and fertility rate That is, the states in which the health care facilities are good fewer children die at birth that is, their fertility rate is automatically less This fact is not digested by our politicians because it is an arduous task for them to ensure economic development and improve education, healthcare facilities It would require a lot of effort Therefore, to divert your attention, a lot of politicians give out inflammatory speeches and tell you Look, the Muslims are responsible for our population growth It is due to these Muslims that our population has been increasing and the Hindus are becoming endangered
But I am going to show you factually how religion is not responsible for population growth The factors that I have told you about earlier are responsible Look at the religion-wise fertility rates in our country In 2005, You can see the chart on the left side when the fertility rates of Muslims was 4.4 and that of the Hindus was 3.3 that of Christians was 2.9 and that of Sikhs was 2.4 By 2015, there has been a decline in the fertility rates in every religion Looking at this you could think that Christians and Sikhs are producing fewer kids than Hindus This is the reason behind this The reason for this has nothing to do with religion the reason for this has to do directly with the same social-economic factors Because you would notice that most of the population of the Sikhs is in Punjab Punjab is a highly developed state
Its economic development is more in comparison to the other states of India and education, healthcare facilities are better in comparison to other states like Bihar And this is why, as you can see in this chart, the fertility rate of the Sikhs is already very low because a state like Punjab, which is already a developed state, drags the average down And you would notice that the Hindu fertility rates is above that of Christians or Sikhs because in the states of Bihar in Uttar Pradesh The Hindu Muslim population is more as compared to Christians or Sikhs Therefore states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar pull the average of which you can clearly see This fact is definitely true that some religions have had a higher fertility rate historically for example like that of Muslims
There could be a lot of reasons behind this (for example) cultural or socio-economic factors But more important than that is When development takes place, then the fertility rate of all the religions comes down on its own accord I’d like to show you another breakdown You can see the Hindu vs Muslim fertility rates. State-wise, in the different states You would notice that in the states which are more developed, the fertility rates of both to religions are low and in the states which are less developed, the fertility rates of both Hindus and Muslims is high That is, every religion controls population on its own when there are economic development and the education,
Healthcare facilities are improved The 2.1 fertility rate is called the replacement fertility rate If the replacement fertility rate is reached, then the population remains stable If it falls below 2.1, then the population also starts to decline Another fact which could leave you surprised is that, in general, the entire fertility rate of India has been falling rapidly in the past 20-30 years As of 2013, almost every state had reached the replacement fertility rate level In fact, a lot of experts believe that as of 2019 that, as a country, India as a whole, has already reached the replacement fertility level This does not mean that the population would start to stabilize instantly.