During the past 30 years India has made dramatic strides in food production, which has even kept pace with the population increase.However, unless the latter is controlled, one day it will outstrip not only food but supply of virtually all other essentials.This is the dire prediction of many an expert.Then there will be famine and disease, pestilence and riots.In effect, nothing short of calamity. I have tried to analyze this problem dispassionately and my conclusions are not entirely pessimistic.
Now, let us study the nature of population growth and focus especially on developments in the 20th century.Through the millennia there was never a worry about how big a family had to be.The family size was determined by “God” and nobody would question “God’s will”.And for most practical purposes large families were desirable as they provided manpower for the mostly agrarian societies.Of course, the high infant mortality and low life expectancy combined with epidemics meant that there was a natural balance struck between birth and death rates.
Thus, the world population would only grow to 2 billion in all the millennia.Then came scientific progress.The nutritional status improved in most parts of the world, previously fatal diseases such as TB, syphilis, typhoid, small pox, etc. were either cured or prevented or eradicated.People started to live well into their 70s and beyond.Coupled with the large families the prior generations had, this longer life meant that the population grew out of control.
These are the real reasons for the doubling and now tripling of the world population during the 20th century.People are going to grow even older and this is likely to go on for another generation or so.
Then, I predict the real effect of population control efforts through family planning and education will show results.Why? Because, there will be no more large families such as existed in the previous generations.This is pure arithmetic.When a typical family will only have two children, they will simply replace the parents when they die.If a family has only a child or is bare, this helps further.This is in fact what China is hoping to achieve, with their one child family system; actually reduce the population in a generation or so.
So what is my solution for the population explosion in India? Well, my hunch is that, central to this task is raising the level of education of the populace. In general, religious and other factions that promote large families have less sway on people who are highly educated.They become much more receptive to control of family size.When family planning is applied to such ‘prepared’ minds, the merits of small families sink in. Such people are also more likely to participate in educating the public.So one can imagine how a government- sponsored family planning is amplified by the enlightened public with first hand experience.So, in my opinion we could successfully intervene and change the dire consequences of population growth predicted by the ‘experts’.