Increase legal age for marriage
If we really want to compare and compete with the developed countries of the world, drastic steps are required to eradicate this menace. Our population is still growing at a rate of above 2 per cent and this ought to be brought down below 1 per cent, otherwise millions of heads created every year will continue to nullify all the gains achieved through industrial and agricultural growth.
The government should take the following steps to curb this menace: increase the legal age for marriage to 25 and 22 for men and women, respectively. Adopt the one-child norm for all sections of society, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Sex determination tests should be banned, as these lead to gender bias and affect the sex ratio. Dowry seekers should be treated harshly and failure to follow family planning norms should entail severe punishment, including forfeiting the right to franchise, right to contest election, imposition of higher rates of taxes, etc.
R. D. BHARDWAJ ‘NOORPURI’, New Delhi
None of the governments has ever put in serious efforts to curb overpopulation, which is putting pressure on the economy, infrastructure and environment, besides creating social and political problems.
A sustained and innovative all-out campaign backed by a strong political will is the need of the hour. Instead of taking harsh and coercive measures to get quick results, the government should resort to certain long-term strategies that can prove effective in the long run.
There is need to raise the literacy level of females, as only the educated, well-informed and motivated individuals can seriously consider family planning. Programmes like compulsory education of children and adult education need to be vigorously pursued.
Population-related subjects should be introduced at school, college and university levels.
The government should increase the legal age for marriage to 25 and 22 for men and women, respectively. Steps should be taken to strengthen healthcare services. Competent bodies should be formed to monitor the implementation of various schemes.
S. S. SOOCH, Jalandhar
A vigorous campaign should be launched to check population, which is creating many problems like unemployment, poverty and crime. A law should be enacted to increase the legal age for marriage to 25 and 22 for men and women, respectively. The government should spread awareness among the masses about the advantages of having a small family because there is hardly any family in the lower strata of society, which has not at least four children.
Tora kamar-e-shaakh ko kasrat ney samara kee/Duniya mein giraan-hbaari-e-aulaad ghazab hai (Abundance of fruit breaks the branch. The burden of progeny is a curse).
Employees who undergo sterilisation after two children should be given additional increments, while those having one child should be liberally rewarded.
Women can play a pivotal role in family planning. They need to be educated about the two-child norm, that it will not only lessen their financial burden, but also keep them healthy. Women social workers should hold seminars in urban as well as rural areas to spread awareness among women. While solemnising marriages, priests should throw light on the benefits of birth control.
BHAGWAN SINGH, Qadian
Persuade, don’t pressurise
Indeed the Malthusian theory of population applies to India in letter and spirit. To control the rate of growth of population, both soft and shock treatments seem necessary, but literacy, eradication of poverty, and awareness drives should be tried first.
Healthcare services should be popularised and the blind craze for the male child should be dispelled. Illegal immigration should be checked and child marriages should be prevented. Late marriage should be encouraged and the birth control drives should cover more communities.
Persuasion, not pressure should be applied to stabilise population. Maximum use of our natural resources would neutralise the overburden of population. The spirit of nationalism should be inculcated in every citizen. Reconstitution of the National Commission on Population with radical aims is a welcome step.
DEV DUTTA SHARMA, Hansi
Policy makers should take a holistic view of this menace and offer solutions that are practical in nature. They should give priority to the need for maintaining ecological balance between ever-growing population and carrying capacity of the land and water resources. Population policies should be pro-nature, pro-women, pro-poor and pro-democracy. Gender issues should be brought into the main focus.
Population-related topics should be included in school/college curricula, so that the young generation grows up with an adequate awareness of family planning programmes. Recognising the correlation between illiteracy and fertility, special emphasis should be laid on education. Family planning should be made an integral part of all policies formulated by the Centre and states. The government should evolve effective strategies to spread general awareness among the masses through the media.
Family planning programmes should be integrated with other welfare programmes that include food, clothing, shelter, education, employment, etc. The people should not be made to act under coercion or any other tactic; rather, the approach should be people friendly.
RANJIT KAUR, Pathankot
Adopt stringent measures
Our enormous population is blocking all the gates of development. If we really want to check the growth of population, we will have to take some stringent measures. Couples having more than two children should be taxed heavily and be deprived of all the benefits given to us by the government. Women should get more reservation in all fields to discourage the quest for a son. A couple having two daughters should get some incentives, if they don’t go for the third child. The birth of the third child should be declared an offence and violators be punished accordingly. Topics relating to the benefits of having a small family should be included in the school and college curricula.
MANJEET MINHAS, Chandigarh
India can achieve the developed-country status only by adopting stringent measures. The following steps should be taken to curb the growth of population: families adopting family planning should be given positive incentives. The legal age for marriage should be increased to 25 and 22 for men and women, respectively. Though hard to implement, it can be monitored by registering marriages.
Religious and social customs that hinder family planning can be removed by giving sex education in schools and colleges. Condom vending machines should be installed at public places, so that people can be encouraged to use contraceptives.
Family planning in our country has failed to check the growth of population because measures such as sterilisation are adopted too late in the reproductive history of a couple. Thus, various informative programmes should be launched to spread awareness among the masses.
HARDEEP SINGH, Barnala
Accept one-child norm
The slogan of "one child" should be honoured and accepted by parents. Vasectomy, loop and condoms should be popularised and made widely available. Late marriages can also reduce the birth rate. Jobs for the youth from the lower classes will solve the problem to some extent. Vote-bank politics should be shunned. The follow-up should be sincere and family welfare should be taught in schools and colleges. Only a combination of methods along with persuasion and social awakening can change things for us.
HARINDER SINGH, Tarn Taran
The slogan "Hum do hamare do" should be dumped. Instead, emphasis should be laid on "Hum do hamara ek". The government should use hoardings and posters to educate masses, especially in backward areas, about the adverse effects of overpopulation. The well-off couples having one child should be motivated to adopt children.
CHARU GARG, Mohali
Implement two-child norm
Growing population is the greatest hindrance in the country’s prosperity. The menace can be curbed, if the two-child norm is strictly implemented, irrespective of caste, creed and culture.
Hoardings, banners and posters depicting the ill effects of overpopulation should be displayed at all important points—railway stations, bus stands, airports, etc. Instead of showing nudity and sex on television, documentary films that spread awareness among the masses about the benefits of family planning should be screened in urban as well as rural areas.
S. L. PATHANIA, Ambala Cantt
The massive population is the biggest hurdle in the path of socio-economic development of the country. The following measures should be taken to arrest population growth. Firstly, the two-child norm should be made mandatory by the government for all, irrespective of caste, creed and culture. Those violating the law should be barred from casting their vote or joining any profession.
Family planning awareness camps should be organised frequently in rural and slum areas. NGOs should come forward and provide free health services to people living below the poverty line. The people should change their attitude towards the female child.
SUKHVINDERJIT KAUR CHOPRA, Kapurthala
Create more awareness
The haphazard growth of population continues unabated due to superstitious and religious-minded people, petty politics of vote and the low literacy rate among the weaker sections of society. Overpopulation, which has major negative impact on the economy, is the root cause of inflation, unemployment, poverty, etc.
The need of the hour is to frame a dynamic and effective policy to curb the growth of population. The government should launch a massive literacy drive to spread awareness among the masses. People should be made aware of contraceptive measures. Social and religious organisations should come forward to educate people in this regard. The government should give financial aid to those who are living in slums and have two children. Couples should be given financial aid for having one female child.
Subjects dealing with merits and demerits of a big or small family should be included in schools and colleges curricula. The drama division of the Public Relations Department should stage skits and plays in urban, rural and remote areas, showcasing the benefits of a small family. Contraceptives should be distributed free of cost to the people.
DIWAN CHAND MOHINDRU, Jalandhar
Population explosion is a poisonous bug, which has been paralysing the vital organs of our country. There is an utmost need to spread awareness among the masses, especially in rural areas, to eradicate this menace, which is responsible for poverty, illiteracy and unemployment. The government should launch numerous schemes to educate the people about the positive aspects of family planning. It should organise shows, dramas and counselling camps to increase awareness on this subject. Schools and colleges should teach students about the role of family planning.
SHUCHI MAKOL, Patiala
The government should introduce the two-child norm by enacting laws. There is a need to do away with the quota system. Instead, preference should be give to those who are having one child or two children. More emphasis should be laid on family planning programmes. The Health Department should give proper training to its staff, so that they too stay updated on the latest methods of contraception. Special condom vending machines should be installed at public places because only a few are willing to procure condoms from government dispensaries. Hunger for the male child is also a great hindrance. Thus, awareness campaigns should be launched to remove the gender bias from the minds of the people.
GAURAV GAUR, Chandigarh
Leaders should show urgency
India’s astonishing progress in various fields has failed to put her in the category of developed countries due to the galloping rate of the growth of population. Unfortunately, our leaders have never addressed this problem with the kind of earnestness and urgency it deserves. As a result, our economic progress has failed to pull nearly 40 per cent of our population out of the quagmire of poverty and misery.
The government should try to evolve ways to curb this menace. Measures to control this population explosion should get top priority in national policies and programmes. Economic incentives like government jobs should be given to those families who have one child each.
A vigorous literacy drive needs to be launched, because only educated men and women, considering all their interests prudently, can plan their life accordingly. Religious leaders should come forward and convince people about the benefits of having a small family. The media should highlight the disastrous consequences of population explosion.
SANDEEP BANSAL, Ladwa (Kurukshetra)
Whatever India achieves on the economic front is eclipsed by the unabated growth of population. So, there is an utmost need to maintain balance between the economic development and population growth. The menace can be curbed through focused initiatives in areas such as health, education and nutrition.
The major thrust should lie in checking the growth of population in rural areas by educating people about family planning. The birth rate can be contained by creating more job opportunities and educating people, especially women. There is also need to change the attitude of women towards family planning. The legal age for marriage should be increased to 25 and 22 for men and women, respectively.
The government should examine China’s case, where the one-child norm has been enforced to arrest the growth of population. Thus, the problem can be solved only through the empowerment of women and improved economic conditions of the rural poor.
VIJAY DHIMAN, Katholi (Kangra)
Shift focus to men
The haphazard growth of population can be checked by the spread of education among the masses, especially among the weaker sections of society, where awareness about the benefits of having a small family is very low. The focus of family planning should be shifted to men. Strenuous efforts should be made to remove the ignorance from their mind regarding the ill effects of vasectomy. Incentive schemes can also help the cause. The government should form various bodies in urban as well as rural areas to educate the people. Stern action should be taken against those who do not adopt family planning. The government should introduce a China-like model to cure the ill.
Lt-Col BHAGWANT SINGH (retd), Mohali
Media can change our mindset
Overpopulation is a big obstacle in the economic development of our country. Although it is a tall order to arrange employment, food, shelter and other facilities for such a huge population, it is the duty of the government to take every measure that is necessary for the welfare of the people, and that includes the steps to curb this menace. The government should organise family planning programmes to educate the masses.
Leaders should play their part in this regard and set an example for the countrymen. Most of the people in our country are fatalists. They regard every child as a gift of God. So, there is need to change their mindset by removing misgivings about family planning from their mind.
The media should launch campaigns to make people aware of its benefits.
Film-makers should make movies that highlight the adverse effects of overpopulation. The government should make strenuous efforts to educate the masses. Women should be given more employment opportunities so as to raise their status in society.
VIKRAM JIT SINGH, On e-mail