Population Control must Get the Top Priority

By: Parmanand Pandey, Advocate, Supreme Court (Secretary General IPC)

The rapidly growing population is a stupendous national problem. Therefore, the suggestion of Baba Ramdev, who is an apolitical person but an ardent patriot, to disenfranchise those having more than two children has not come a day too soon. One friend – a conscientious Advocate in the Supreme Court Shreepal Singh – has also been very concerned with what he calls a time-ticking ‘population bomb’. Baba has also suggested that such people should be deprived of other government facilities to send a strong message to others to effectively control the fast-growing population of India.

If no restrictions are imposed on this fast-growing population, then India will overtake China in less than five years’ time. At present, the population of India is nearly 134 crores while China is inhabited by nearly 140 crores. In another two-three years’ time, India will overtake China.

There is no denying that strict legislation is urgently required to control the population.  Unless and until the government of India goes for some effective measures to adopt a comprehensive population policy, all the progress will go phut because the country will not be able to bear the burden of the burgeoning population.

The population of the United States of America is 33 crores, but its landmass area is 9.834 million square Kilometres making the density of population 35 person per square kilometre. India’s landmass area is 3.287 million square kilometres and the density of population is 382 per square km. Let us see the density of population of some other countries like China (152 per square km.), Canada (4 persons) Russia (8.4 persons), England (259), Germany(227), France( 118), Italy (201) Even in Pakistan, the density of population is 251 per sq. km, which is much less than India. Except for Bangladesh (1120 per square km.). All other neighbouring countries have the less and the lighter burden of the population like in Sri Lanka it is 325, in Nepal, it is 201, in Myanmar it is almost one-fourth of India i.e. 95.

Our neighbour China has adopted a very harsh population policy of one child per couple but that is now being relaxed in view of the skewed gender ratio and growing geriatric population. In India, however, it was a very liberal policy of ‘hum do aur humare do’ (we two and ours two) adopted by Sanjay Gandhi during the Emergency. Its timing and implementation were wrong, but the policy was certainly commendable.

Regrettably, the successive governments have thrown the child away with the bath water. Australia is a continent which is more than two times bigger than India in size, its population is less than 2.50 crores. An example is given in jest, which is a fact also that the number of children born every year in India is equivalent to the population of Australia.

The population is an important factor and the young population is certainly the most important one. However, when the burden on the resources becomes unbearable then no country can think of making any progress.  With the increasing population more houses, more hospitals, more educational institutions, more roads, more parks and more space or offices, manufacturing units, factories and other establishments will be required. The construction of buildings etc will certainly need more lands, which will ultimately eat away the agricultural lands and forest lands. By encroachment of forest, covers will be denuded causing enough damage to flora and fauna, ecology and environment.

When you have more people to feed and less area of land, then howsoever, scientific method of agriculture and dairy farming is adopted, there will always be the crisis of food and milk. One cannot expect to provide enough food and milk etc. to the entire population. There will be more malnutrition resulting in diseases and of various types needing more hospitals and more expenses on the health sector. This will further deplete the resources and the country will not be able to afford the more burden of population growth. Even the advancement in science, technology and education will be badly hit.

The statement of Baba Ramdev is not directed towards any particular religion; however, it defies all logic as to why only the leaders of the Muslim community and Maulvis have come out to vehemently oppose his statement. They say it is totally unconstitutional. Nobody knows how these Muslim leaders define the Constitution because making a valid, convincing and good suggestions for the betterment of the country by bringing about some changes in the law cannot be said to be unconstitutional by any means.

It is the right of every citizen of the country to put forward some ideas. Why they appeared to be rattled by an appreciable suggestion from Baba Ramdev is not understandable. Their patriotism and nationalism are unquestionable but the way they are reacting to an innocuous and non-discriminatory suggestion casts a shadow of doubt on their conduct. Law, if it is made and in fact, must be made, will not be applicable to not only one community but for all sections of the society. These Muslim leaders must, therefore, welcome such an idea with open arms because, the less population will bring more progress to them and they would able to give education, clothes and food to their children. That will also help them in getting good health facilities and better opportunities for good employment will come to them.

It is really very surprising that a senior advocate in the Supreme Court has come out with a bizarre logic, which does not have any leg to stand upon. He has said that more than a hundred Members of Parliament have got more than three children, does it mean that they should be debarred from participating in the elections? There is no need to tell that any law is applicable with a prospective effect and it has been settled by the Supreme Court in Golak Nath case. So, there cannot be any fear to anybody on that count.

Moreover, this is a suggestion which should be discussed by Parliament in detail. How can it be enforced? It can be done either by increasing the awakening of the people with a sprinkling of some punitive measures or by coercive measures, which are bound to boomerang in a democracy like India.  They can be successful only in authoritarian regimes like China, not in India. But there is no doubt that drastic laws must be introduced by our Legislators to control the population in India. Therefore, the suggestion of Baba Ramdev has all the merits to be considered very seriously by the new government of India.

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