Earlier in Forum







Q: What steps should be taken to curb
the growth of population?

This is the first instalment of readers’ response

Encourage voluntary family planning

In India, several agencies have studied this issue and the problems associated with it. They have evolved strategies to deal with them. However, the appropriate measures suggested by these agencies have not been implemented due to obsolete laws, time-consuming bureaucratic procedures and the lack of political will. Though the global fertility rate has dropped nearly half since 1955, with even few areas showing the decline without adopting population control methods, voluntary family planning and other preventive measures are still desirable. Education can help spread awareness among the masses regarding the use of contraceptives.

Religious leaders should come forward to educate people about the importance of birth control. Modern forms of birth control and family planning often emphasise the women’s role in minimising the size of the family. The right to have control over own reproductive health is significant. Therefore, the choice to use birth control or continue with a pregnancy should lie with women.

Voluntary education and encouragement of family planning can have positive health benefits. The increase in time between pregnancies and the decrease in number of total pregnancies would also help in this endeavour. Smaller families are healthier for the psychological state of the mother and the healthy development of the children. Thus, limiting smaller families and preferring the two-child norm, with adequate knowledge and education, can help arrest population growth.

— RITA RAINA, Jodhpur

Enact stringent laws

Growing population is the root cause of problems like unemployment, crime and illiteracy that are prevalent in our country. In a democracy like India, it is almost impossible to curb the growth of population through persuasive means. The effect of persuasion is only upon the educated lot and the middle and upper middle classes of society. We have failed to motivate the poor, uneducated and rural people. We have also failed to curb the population growth by adopting coercive means during the Emergency period.

Under present circumstances, the government should adopt a combination of both coercion and persuasion to implement its programmes. Stringent laws should be enacted to curb the menace. The violators should be severely punished. The marriageable age for boys and girls should be increased to 25 and 21, respectively. Couples violating family norms should be debarred from contesting elections and their voting right should also be withdrawn. A massive campaign should be launched through the media to create conducive environment.

— Lt Col INDER CHOWDHARY (retd), Ambala Cantonment

Make women self-dependent

In spite of effective policies to curb the growth of population, there seems to be a lack of will power on the part of authorities concerned for their implementation and adoption. Firstly, people should be educated and made aware of the need and benefits of population control as well as its positive effects on family health and the economy. Illiteracy is the biggest hurdle, as illiterate people can barely think beyond their basic needs. There is an utmost need to spread awareness among the masses regarding the use of contraceptives. The government should work towards making women more self-dependent. Special economic and educational benefits should be given to the girl child, so that instances of increasing the size of the family while trying for a male child are lessened.

— Dr SUNIL SHARMA, Jagraon

Follow two-child norm

The following steps should be taken to curb the growth of population: First, the government should frame stringent laws on the lines of foreign countries like China. These laws should strictly ensure the implementation of the two-child norm. Anybody found violating the norm should either be fined heavily or sentenced to a few year s imprisonment.

Secondly, people should be guided about the benefits of family planning by organising awareness camps. Doctors should educate people by giving lectures, showing slides, photos and adopting such other methods which can convince them about the benefits of a small family. Thirdly, hoardings, banners and posters depicting the alarming population growth rate in vernacular languages should be displayed in urban as well as rural areas, so that the common man can know about the ill effects of overpopulation. A survey should be done to identify those parts of the country, where the population growth rate is high. The government should take the above-mentioned steps to curb the menace.


Educate women

India ranks as the second most populous country in the world. Its increasing population at the present rate will certainly affect economic development. So, the government should take corrective measures to arrest population growth. Education is the only medium that can help spread awareness at every level. The providing of education to women in particular would prove decisive in eradicating this menace.

Family planning programmes should be held time to time to make people aware of the advantages of small families. Early marriage should be strictly checked and efforts be made to raise the living standard and improve the literacy rate.

— AYUSHI SACHDEVA, Yamunanagar


The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, was correct in his assessment that forcible measures should not be taken while planning for population stability. The logic is simple: more you resist, more it persists. So, the best approach towards population stabilisation is to make the people realise the importance of small family.

To achieve the desired objective, the first obvious step is the empowerment of women in all respects. The education level amongst the weaker sex needs to be enhanced. Such a reformatory measure goes a long way in tackling population explosion and poverty.

The sustained development of remote and rural areas should be the next priority. The overall development and the exposure of rural folks to the global reality can help in curbing the need for senseless desire for more and more children.

In order to make the two-child norm a national slogan, the government should adopt incentives — and disincentives — based schemes.

Couples adopting family planning should be given all possible assistance. In this regard, couples should be made to attend a counselling sessions after marriage in which they should be made aware of the need and benefits of family planning.

— RAJIV BHALLA, Chandigarh

Provide basic healthcare facilities

The problem can be solved only by providing basic health care facilities and education to the needy. During my visits to backward areas in India, I happened to speak to few families having three to five children. They preferred having more children, for they were not sure how many of them would survive and later support the family in earning. If such families are given assurances that proper health care would make sure their children survive and education would help them in getting employment, the population growth can be effectively curbed.

— G. S. ARORA, Budapest, Hungary

Law makers should set example

First, law makers should set an example by adopting the two-child norm. The desire for a son that continues to be deeply entrenched in the Indian psyche is leading to more than two children. So, couples whose first child happens to be a girl should be allowed to go in for pre-natal sex determination. Otherwise, the population growth rate will continue increasing in the hope of a male child.

Religious leaders too can play an important role by educating masses about the benefits of family planning. Contraceptives should be made available for free at all government shops. Celebrities like veteran film star Amitabh Bachchan should be roped in to campaign for the use of contraceptives.

— MADHU R. D. SINGH, Ambala Cantonment

Adopt more personal approach

The enormous population growth is posing a serious threat to the country. A week-long conference or talking on the podium about controlling the growth of population surely cannot tackle this menace. A bunch of measures involving institutional, medical, judicial and social steps are the need of the hour to have control over this hazard.

Going a bit far from a mass propaganda to a more personal approach can be an effective solution to the problem. People should be educated about the use and benefits of temporary contraception methods to eliminate irrational doubts from their minds. In case of third pregnancy, abortion should be made legal by enacting laws. A team comprising medics and administrators should be constituted to ensure the proper implementation of the law and to keep a vigil on the violators.

Contraceptive devices should be provided free of cost at medical shops so as they are in the reach of the common man. Financial assistance should be given to the families going for tubectomy and vasectomy. Population control methods should be taught at the school/college level. Special funds should be allocated for population control in the Budget. Retired persons and students should come forward to educate people about the ill-effects of overpopulation.


Give rewards to contain growth

A steep population growth is more dangerous than a devastating nuclear bomb. A major chunk of population belongs to the lower strata of society. The number of deprived persons is increasing alarmingly, creating social imbalance. Thus, the government should reward those families that help contain the growth rate. Parents having one-two children should be given preference in the third and fourth class government jobs. They should be offered loans at subsidised rates. They should be given some tax relaxation too. Areas showing favourable results in arresting population growth should get more benefits and sops from the government. Officials should be rewarded for their efforts in curbing the menace.



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