Overpopulation is a global crisis that we are facing and it is high time that people become more aware of it. It is not only leading to growth in consumerism but also causing social, economic and environmental issues.
It is a global crisis that we are facing and it is important that people become more aware of it as soon as possible. The problem is that it is increasing at a very fast rate and this causes concern for everyone. Overpopulation is causing economic, social, and environmental issues. The problem just doesn’t lie in people having more children but with the low mortality rate which is because of the advancement in health care. On World Population Day, chief minister Yogi Adityanath provoked a vociferous debate when he unveiled the Uttar Pradesh Population Policy 2021-2030. The policy aims to bring down the total fertility rate among women to 2.1 by 2026 and to 1.9 by 2030 — from the current rate of 2.7.
Any change in the population policy of the country’s most populous state is bound to be a big deal, but it is not a surprising one. With 240 million people, Uttar Pradesh alone has 16% of India’s total population and is home to every sixth Indian. If it was a separate country, it would be the fifth largest in the world by population, just behind China, India, US and Indonesia, and bigger than Pakistan and Brazil. We, as a country, have already been warned of a ‘population explosion’ and it is deemed that the continuous increase in the state’s population will result in a dystopian future as population growth tends to outpace and stifle economic growth. Therefore, an essential part of the solution to this predicament is to have a small family. The new UP Population policy will inevitably ensure sustainable development with reduced inequality in income distribution and is in line with the vision of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to power the state to a $1 trillion economy. The population policy will also improve health and wealth by allowing planned population movement. Equity is another issue. Let us say we can feed everyone, but still, some will be far better fed than others. We can’t say population growth is sustainable when many people are alive but still not getting enough.
Therefore a population policy becomes essential. The policy hopes to create a demographic dividend by removing imbalances in 75 districts. Different demographics have different development levels, creating social problems. Thus the government aims to create balance in all the communities. In the current economic structure, the imbalance is creating stress on resources and therefore, this needs to be rectified. Those arguing against this policy and giving it a political twist that this is against parental rights must understand that killing of a foetus is illegal in India. The policy is already in place in other states like Rajasthan where those having more than two children are not eligible for appointments in government jobs. In Maharashtra, too, candidates are disqualified from contesting local body elections (from gram panchayats to municipal corporations) for having more than two children.
The Maharashtra civil services rules also bar a person with more than two children from holding a post in the state government. Women with more than two children are not allowed to benefit from the public distribution system. The UP Population Policy aims to bring down the total fertility rate (TFR) among women to 21 by 2026 and to 1.9 by 2030, from the current rate of 2.7. Even if TFR of 2 or 2.1 is achieved, due to population momentum, growth will continue beyond because of the high concentration of women of childbearing age. As a state, we need to continuously focus on indicators that have a critical impact on stabilising population – increasing age at marriage, reducing unmet need for family planning and increasing modern contraceptive prevalence rates.
Efforts will be made to increase the accessibility of contraceptive measures issued under the Family Planning Programme and provide a proper system for safe abortion. Consumption is the bedrock of an economy and in the current context, the demand has overtaken the supply of both natural and man-made resources. A decrease in population would not only reduce the strain.on natural resources but would present the government with better policy choices over the economy. Already, access to technology in the remotest of areas is driving an attitude shift amongst rural people. Moreover, a lot changes when people migrate from villages to the cities. Firstly, the child goes from another pair of hands to work in the fields to an additional mouth to feed. A woman is more aware when in the city as she has greater access to media, to schools, and to other women.
She demands greater autonomy and often decides to have fewer children. The policy further ensures easy availability of advanced health facilities, and aims to bring down maternal and child mortality rates to the minimum level through proper nutrition. Health clubs will be established in schools to increase awareness around population stabilisation. A system for the digital tracking of infants, adolescents, and elderly people to bolster the Digital Health Mission will be in place. A National Program for Healthcare for the Elderly (NPHCE) will also be implemented. This policy has the potential to impact the lives of 24 crore people which includes more than 4.9 crore adolescents and more than 4.4.crore youth in the state. It has set both medium-term and long-term aims to achieve milestones by the year 2030 and align with the targets and timeline set by the state to achieve its sustainable development goals.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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