India's Growing Population - Our Strength or Weakness?

India's Growing Population - Our Strength or Weakness?

Florine Roche

July 11, 2012
World Population Day

Come another World Population Day and it is time for introducing a slew of family welfare programmes for the government in order to improve the quality of human resource and also to put breaks on the rapid growth of our population to some extent. But all these measures have failed to yield desired results or the results have been insignificant as compared to the growth we have been witnessing. The reasons for this are varied ranging democratic compulsions to political expediency on the part of the government and our own languid response to a pressing issue like unhindered population growth.

Now there is an assuring argument doing the rounds that we need not lose sleep over our multiplying numbers because our population itself is our strength and not our weakness as it was once envisaged. The reason for this is that that huge population offers a bigger pool of human resource and hence a bigger consumer market. We wish it were true but the reality is quite different from what we expect it to be. No doubt it is good to be optimistic. However, sticking on to this optimism does not do any good for India because it is not always quantity alone that matters. What matters of course is the quality of our population which is abysmally pedestrian and we cannot for sure say the quality of our humungous population is an asset to our country.

True. In a social or political set up we cannot overlook the potential of a big number. The power of numbers and the potential market created by a huge population can sustain a country to some extent. Many European countries which have been experiencing zero or negative population growth have realized this lacunae as they economy is in shambles and have been offering incentives for people in their countries to encourage them to have more children in order to increase their population. On the other hand we have a few countries (including India) where population is growing unabashedly putting extra burden on our limited infrastructure and negating whatever progress we have achieved. The biggest casualty in our greed to multiply has been the nature which has been ravaged, exploited and squeezed to the tilt leaving very little capacity for her to shower her bounty any more.

So what the world faces today is a problem of either too little or too much of population. For many European countries the negative growth of population in their countries is a worrying factor. There is an imbalance both in quality and quantity of population at the global level. Unfortunately for India its burgeoning population is a cause for concern mainly because the quality of our population is mediocre. Despite some sincere efforts at one stage and some half-hearted measures over the years government policies have failed to bring about any drastic improvement in the quality of our human resource.

Even now people in our country consider that having more children would supplement family's meager income and hence they go for more children. There are people who still believed children are gift of god and fail to realize that more mouths to feed means a sizeable section of our society is deprived of even basic necessities. The quality of our undernourished, poverty stricken, unhealthy, uneducated population will be nothing as compared to those where quality of life in terms of food, shelter, clothing housing, health-care, economic security, old-age care and standard of living is much higher and superior.

Needless to say the productivity of such a population would be much higher than those where the people have to struggle on a daily basis for getting even the basic needs. While countries like China and Japan have taken firm steps to reverse the trend of population growth India is taking it easy thinking that its 1.2 billion population is its asset or strength. But the truth is quite farther from this. We need to take drastic measures and resolutely try to improve the quality of our population to convert it into quality human resource. Or else all our efforts will go down in the drains.

This is easier said than done. Our population can be our strength only when we have the power and strength to feed the people, provide them clothing and shelter, good education, health care and jobs and mould them into an asset. As of now, whatever little measures adopted by the government for the betterment of the people have failed to effectively reach out to the huge population spread across this vast country. We don't have the wherewithal to mould this huge population into useful resource and therefore it will be a burden and not an asset to our country

Growing population has put pressure on our limited infrastructure which may crash under the burden of the weight of its population any time. Growing population would put more pressure on existing housing sector, our transport system, health care, education, ecology, natural resources and food production. Huge population has taken a toll on our environment which has been exploited to cater to the needs of the growing population. Our country has not been able to concentrate on much progress because our unbridled population growth has neutralized whatever progress we have achieved. Poverty is intrinsically connected to exponential population growth and hence it is imperative to we have a system where sincere efforts are made to curb the population growth.

Our neighboring country China stringently adopted one child policy and as a result parents could give more time and attention to raise, educate and train the child. Its one-child policy has yielded desired results as China will be way ahead of India in terms of quality of human capital in the next one decade. It does not mean to say India needs to adopt such an extreme measure like the one China has put to practice because we are a democratic country. No political party worth its salt would dare to introduce such a policy in India. But we certainly need to devise and implement policies and programmes without succumbing to political expediency or democratic compulsions with the sole aim of improving the quality of our population, which is possible only by curbing its growth, as a first step.

Unless and until we make noticeable efforts to improve the quality of our population and equip ourselves to be the best we are hardly going to make any difference, except that we keep multiplying and put more burden on our already overburdened infrastructure and our ecosystem. A huge population makes efficient management a burdensome task and everything goes beyond our control.

Every year July 11 is observed as World Population Day. The major intention of celebrating this day is to create awareness on issues pertaining to global population. The world population has crossed 7.025 billion in May this year and it has taken just 24 years for the population to grow from a mere 5 billion in 1987 to more than 7 billion in two decades. India is all set to overtake China (only in numbers) by 2030 but we cannot say the same with the quality.

Procreation is our right but it is not enough just to multiply in number. What we e need to consider is not what the large population of our country has done so far but what kind of population we are becoming of now. We definitely need to strike a healthy balance between quantity and quality.


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Comment on this article

  • hanna sunny,

    Mon, Sep 14 2015

    This is not good not good at all

    DisAgree [3] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • pragya tiwari, allahabad

    Mon, Oct 21 2013


    DisAgree [8] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Girishmenon, Thrissur

    Sun, May 19 2013

    Indian Govt.needs to implement a policy of 2 Children/Family.This policy makes the only way to control population in India.AS population growth is a huge factor affecting country's economy,poverty and unemployment the Govt.has to implement a 2children policy as early as possible.Gave the next generation a 'POWERFUL INDIA'with no poverty and unemployment.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • geetha, chennai

    Tue, Mar 05 2013

    make awarness in rural area.bcoz in that place no one unknown in family planning policy and then birth distance in my point in 1 family for got only one child,so only population is decreased in my country.

    DisAgree [10] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • abin,

    Sun, Jan 20 2013

    i dont think that man power is the only power india has

    DisAgree [6] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajesh, Meerut

    Sun, Jul 15 2012

    The growing population of India is a matter of huge concern.The Indian population continues to grow so rapidly that its a wake up call for all the Indians and Indian Government too.If proper steps aren't taken to control the population soon,it might become too late.I think Government should implement one child program and make it a compulsion.

    DisAgree [10] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Tony Crasta, Mangalore/Sydney

    Fri, Jul 13 2012

    After having widely travelled and living abroad for many years, I have come to the conclusion that India is the best country in the world to live in and enjoy the life (provided, of course, you have sufficient money to look after yourself and your family),with its close family and social structure, and also liberal democratic Government in place, only if it was not facing main two problems and anomalies, viz. the widely spread corruption culture, and of course, the over population.

    It is beyond doubt that India is massively over-populated, and every effort should, therefore, be made by all concerned to contain the population growth so that it`s peasants can enjoy better standard and quality of life, if not the present generation, at least the next one.

    Quite a valuable article by the way by Florine Roche on an important subject which she has dealt with rather tactfully and judiciously.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • ad, mangloor

    Thu, Jul 12 2012

    Indias greatest assest is its human power/ population. Today, to the world, Indias population feeds. Look at the foreign countries and foreign coporations that pour into India to exact its wealth. Indias expatriates get in billions in foreign exchange.
    What India needs is a clean government to its people and to even greater prosperity. 80% of the people live in rural farms producing ample produce with 4 crops. Indai should look after these folks.

    DisAgree [8] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • jamil ahmed, udupi/qatar

    Wed, Jul 11 2012

    Increase in population of our country is a question. However we need skilled manpower to improve our GDP and minimize inflation rate. In this context it is our counties strength to have population. We shouldn't go against nature like the strategies developed by China earlier. It doesn't ,mean that we have to produce offspring's without providing them education. The government should plan for a strategic growth for the next twenty years on economic development against population growth. this has nothing to do with any political party, however it is with a positive approach on development for shining India.

    DisAgree [9] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Judith L, Mumbai

    Wed, Jul 11 2012

    To continue I would like to add that mostly middle class people have less children but again there is so much competition becose of limited jobs that either the children get frustrated and commit suicide or they go abroad to earn a living evern if there is recession and never think of returning back to this filth and corruption contrary to this when we say recession and manpower is abroad I have rarely seen foreigners settling down in India, so where is the economic downpowerment of poverty,social and economic inequality actually. Can anyone explain where is India a Super Power where only a few enjoy all luxuries while maximum are struggling to even have a one time meal and clothes,shelther,education,medication is a big luxury for these millions. FORGET THE GOVT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE EVEN FOR GOD TO KEEP A CHECK ON SUCH A HUGE POPULATION becose of which ultimately crime,poverty,illiteracy,infanticide,sacrifice of children,dowry death,corruption,etc...... is on rise and not economic empowerement.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Judith L, Mumbai

    Wed, Jul 11 2012

    Natural resources are limited whereas our population is huge. What is the use in giving birth to children if we cannot even provide them food,clothing,shelter,education,medical help. There are parents who even sell their children for a meagres thousands ,there are parents who make their children slog in child labour so that they can have comfortable lives and there are even parents who give their children for begging to others who make them slog in begging for money in cold winters, gashing rain, hot,humid heat and if they do not earn sufficient the children hands and legs are either cut to earn more and feed evil stomachs of so called parents and criminals. then there are those who sell their children to terrorist to be used in suicide bombings. so overall if you cannot take care you have no right to give birth and use children as an excuse for feeding your dirty and evil stomachs and this doesnot happen even in Africa but in India , Pakistan the most corrupt countries where including politicians the people are also corrupt and do not bat an eyelid to make use of physically weak children who cannot fight back. This is India's Super Power.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • HALADY AMANU SAHEB, halady. kundapur/ jeddah

    Wed, Jul 11 2012

    Mr. Jerry moras,
    I agree with you,Man power is the main power of India, whole over the world Indians are working.There is some quality in Inidan wokers, which is the forein countries like us,that isQuickness,promt&obediancy.

    DisAgree [16] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shaan, manglore/Dubai

    Wed, Jul 11 2012

    First of all no doubt sexually we are Strength..Secondly human sources are the main sources to all other resources. If we will utilize our manpower to other sources it would improve our infrastructure, agriculture sector & industrial sector within non corruption politics then no doubt Growing Population become will be our Strength not weakness.

    DisAgree [13] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Wed, Jul 11 2012


    It is indeed very tactful of you to have enveloped so vast a subject within such a limited space. Good job lady ! Well, let me do my best within the given word limit.

    75% of India's population is in rural areas who are also the food producers. In earlier times, the food production was for subsistence that is, for self feeding. People would barter their produce for items they did not grow. Now, the government buys the produce from the farmers and distributes to people where production does not take place. i.e. Lets take wheat/rice - in the South rice grows abundantly, in the North wheat does. Circulation takes place by rationing. But, how much are the farmers paid and at what price are we purchasing ? How much grain is rotten due to improper storage facility or eaten by rodents ?

    More children were desired in earlier times because farm work needed labour and each additional child was counted as a farm hand. Gradually methods of production improved, produce increased to the extent of quantity sufficient to export. Courtesy development projects, production land was transformed into plantation, villages grew into towns and towns into cities/metros. At same time, the size of families too grew.

    City-dwellers need not be guilty, they paid taxes in exchange of services. But, how were the taxes managed ? Majority of our finances is reserved for rural development. How much benefits reach the rural people ? Not even 10%. The Babus in between swallowed up the bounty.

    Now, don't blame any ruling party for this - there is an artery flowing all through the nation - the President's representatives - right uptil the VA. But, the local politicians don't allow them to implement the development programs freely. They create bogus benefactors and gobble up the funds. So, its not fair to blame the center or the local - we the people are to be blamed. If each of us becomes an Anna, perhaps we won't lament !

    DW.. Please increase the word limit.

    DisAgree [14] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sachidanand Shetty, Mundkur/Dubai

    Wed, Jul 11 2012

    For Country like India, growing population should not be the major problem while looking at the resources we have been gifted by Nature. Then where is the problem laying? We need to give proper education to all so that people should learn some basic etiquette to preserve our Nature for future generations too. Moreover our Government should also concentrate the development activities in rural areas too so that our rural people will not migrate to Cities and congest the Metro. Our people should also adopt some “Working Culture” too. For example, we can see in Coastal Karnataka where our own manual workers not willing to work whereas people even from Kolkata, Bihar and Orissa are finding jobs in Coastal Area. Our Government can’t impose Population control by force but our own people should understand that whether they are capable of giving good life and education for more children in their family?

    DisAgree [6] Agree [36] Reply Report Abuse

  • shahnawaz kukkikatte, dubai/udupi

    Wed, Jul 11 2012

    Mr Rakesh Shetty,

    Oh. both the leaders you mentioned are still bachelors and what contribution they can give to our population growth?????

    DisAgree [16] Agree [55] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rakesh shetty, mangalore

    Wed, Jul 11 2012





    DisAgree [111] Agree [32] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jerry Moras, Canada

    Wed, Jul 11 2012

    While China produces product for the rest of the world India produces people.
    We need both but balance might be required. T0 start with India needs to restrict 2 children policy per family.

    DisAgree [22] Agree [77] Reply Report Abuse

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