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India population issues and opportunities they hide

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Problems associated with India’s population explosion have so far been treated as something concerning just the government and a few NGOs. But there are huge business opportunities that can be unlocked if these problems can be tackled, even marginally. It is high time that entrepreneurs made an attempt at tackling them

India, the world’s second most populous nation, has a huge population problem. Everyone understands and accepts that. Like someone I spoke to recently said, "It is there and nothing can be done about it." This article argues that India has not one but three basic problems when it comes to population. Further, it makes the case that hidden in the resolution of the problems are huge business opportunities and that it makes sense for business houses and entrepreneurs to tackle the problem along with the government and NGOs.

The three challenges
1 Reducing population growth rates
2 Reducing infant mortality
3 Increasing life expectancy

1. Reducing population growth rates
The first of India’s three population problems is the most accepted one—the huge population. At 1.12 billion in 2007, our population is only marginally behind China’s 1.33 billion and way ahead of third placed USA’s 304 million.

As can be seen from the graph, while the large population base itself is a problem, the bigger issue is that population growth has maintained a steady pace over the years. The first step here is to bring the population growth rate to zero so that the country’s population remains steady and does not grow further.

The six most populous countries in the world. Even if India were to reduce its population growth rate down to zero (population remaining constant at current levels), the population problem that we are facing will not go away and its rank as the second most populous country is unlikely to change.

Now, how do we reduce population growth? See box on replacement fertility rate to get an overview of how much the population growth has to be curtailed by. The traditional approach has been the use of contraceptive methods and a move towards planned pregnancy. The methods for this have been improving education and awareness and improving the access to and use of contraceptive methods.

Usage of contraception
Traditionally, the usage of contraception is popularized by the government and by NGOs. In spite of many years of continued attempt, a majority of the population does not use contraception. And even in the usage, there are skews.

A majority of the population does not use any contraceptive methods. And of those that use, a majority (29.6 +0.8 = 30.4%) again are sterilized. Sterilization is normally a final state of contraception. So, those using temporary methods of contraception are just 13.4% of the population. The opportunity and market for improving this rate even slightly is huge.

Comments (4)Add Comment
written by Shravan, December 30, 2010
should follow china in this regard and we shud make it compulsory for a couple not to have more than one children. i.e. we should make a strict policy of one couple one child to curb population in India.
And please no plotics here by politicians
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written by Sujay Rao Mandavilli, August 31, 2010
Implement the following Ten point formula immediately. Only this will work.
1.The central government must set up a coordinator for all high growth states. The coordinator must be appointed by the central government, but will work with state government. District coordinators too must be appointed to prepare action plans and continuously monitor the situation, make modifications, share ideas, success stories and research success stories in India and abroad. Each district can have volunteers. This must be implemented in addition to the ideas stated above. The coordinator must monitor implementation of SSA, PMGSY, NRHM, NREGS as well. This will help greatly because too many good ideas are implemented only in a very small region. Good practices in one region are not implemented elsewhere. This is the biggest roadblock to the family planning program and the biggest failure of central governments. The coordinator will also advise state governments about good practices in other states.
2.Monetary incentive must be given by both Central and State Governments and there must be a uniform central policy

A hypothetical scheme would be as follows

Sterilization after 2 children Rs x
Sterilization after 2 children (at least 1 girl) Rs 2x
Sterilization after 2 children (both girls) Rs 3x
Sterilization after 1 child Rs 4x
Sterilization after 1 child (girl) Rs 6x

3.Incentives for the girl child

Special incentives for the education of the girl child, for higher education etc. This is being implemented by individual state governments but there is no central government policy

4.Multimedia campaign to spread awareness and explain why population control is important to the county and the region, besides the family. The importance of family planning to the region, to the country and to natural resources must also be explained and we have for too long vacillated between inaction and coercion

5.Catch them young: To explain the benefits. Incorporate Family planning awareness in the SSA

6.Make family planning material available through fair price and ration shops in all villages

7.Roping in leading personalities like film actors and religious leaders to spread the message of family planning

8.Special package for senior citizens in NREGS. This is very important to rein in population growth

9.Special package to corporates and other individuals who wish to contribute to family planning initiatives

10.To encourage adult literacy programs particularly female literacy
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Population check
written by bkbrao, May 31, 2010
Remove the reservations automatically population will show declining growth rate . Because of benefits such communities are intentionally increasing population. Immediate steps like
a. No ration card if a person is having more than two,
b No free education beyond two children.
c. With draw railway concessions, LTC,medical facilities etc
Save country first. No political gimmicks in this attitude.
Dr. Rao
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