Population, poverty quit india!
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Population, poverty quit india!
Population, poverty quit India!Sushmita DuttaAn athlete turns to prostitution for want of money. Little kids at traffic signals beg forsurvival. Thousands die every year due to malnutrition. But we are still celebrating’ our62nd Independence Day with pomp and grandeur. For 62 years we have been free fromforeign domination, but the biggest question our nation faces today is, are we free in thetrue sense of the word? Are we free from that evil twin of poverty and population?According to latest statistics, the population of India has grown from 345 million in 1951 to around 1.16 billion in May 2009.The growth is huge at 16 to 17 million per year, having severe social and economic implications.India is considered to be the house of one-third of the world’s poor and this fact is highlighted at various international fora -despite our million other achievements.The other problems that have made the situation worse are unemployment, lack of health amenities and lack of fulfillmentof basic needs like water, food and shelter. But the bigger issue is that these problems were there on the first day afterindependence and still remain.A few statistics may show that the percentage of poor has come down, but poverty is out there still in huge numbers.A recent “Global Economic Prospects” report projects that one-fourth of India’s population would be below extreme povertyline living on less than $1.25 a day by 2015. The issue of poverty is directly linked with population explosion. The more it willgrow the graver the poverty scenario will grow.The main reasons behind the rapid rise of the population and hence poverty are very varied and sometimes surprising.1. Male ChildThis is a shameful aspect of life that exists in our society. Many people, for the want of a boy child, keep on producing kids,not even thinking what they would feed to the innumerable mouths. This results in more people and less opportunities,hence creating a vicious circle.2. IlliteracyThe fact that a very large number of Indian population has never been to a school and thus lacks the necessary knowledge,keeps them away from knowing the demerits of a large family. Lack of awareness about family planning makes thisproblem bigger. Not only that, lack of vocational training leads to high unemployment rates. Folk in rural areas are unable tounderstand what education will do for them.3. More hands, more moneyThe uneducated poor people have to work very hard to meet their ends. They feel that if they have more kids, the number ofpeople available for earning money will increase which in turn will make their lives easier. But since there is a limit toopportunities as also most such jobs are low paying, the poor are unable to come out of their pathetic condition.4. Misconceptions about contraceptivesMany men still don’t believe that contraceptives should be used. Most of the women in rural India don’t have any knowledgethat something like contraceptives even exists! Moreover large masses live with the primeval mindset that children are thegift from God and that they must not come in their way of birth.
5. Cheapest mode of entertainmentSex is the cheapest mode of entertainment among the poverty-ridden. But since they do not practice safe sex, thepopulation is rapidly increasing. The current Health Minister of course thinks that watching TV will solve the problem. Onlymost do not have a TV!Population explosion has two main side-effects; if one is poverty then the other is unemployment. The dark cloud ofunemployment has engulfed both the rural and urban sectors for a very long period of time now. But it is not that thegovernment isn’t doing anything about it.From time to time there have been very popular government employment schemes, which have helped a lot of people gettheir livelihood.i) Jawahar Rojgar YojanaIn 1989, a unique employment scheme was devised by the government. The main motive of this yojana was to be able torecruit unemployed and under-employed people in the rural sector. This scheme turned out to be huge hit. It helpedgenerate lot of jobs for the youth.ii) NREGANREGA is an exceptionally ingenious employment scheme, which empowers everyone at least a hundred days ofemployment willing to do unskilled manual work at the minimum wage. NREGA aims at tackling two big issues-ruraldevelopment and employment. It has been a very successful scheme and achieved its objective in many states.But inspite of such generous schemes by the government the demon of unemployment is still at large. That’s because thedemon has become so huge in shape that it not possible for the government alone to tackle it. Everyone must do his bit.Big corporate giants have to realize that they have a moral responsibility towards the nation. They have to lend a helpinghand to the government to overcome this problem by using more labour intensive methods, while government should allowhire and fire policies so that trade unionism doesn’t become a problem.A very sorry example of poverty and no work was in news a few days ago. Nisha Shetti, a national volleyball player and highjumper, was caught in a prostitution ring from Chhattisgarh. Her poverty, unemployment and husband’s death had forcedher into sex-trade. What was more pathetic was that she could not even get a bail for herself for want of a mere Rs. 10,000.If the gems of India are in such condition, the Aam Aadmi can but only imagine his plight.The fact that nothing consequential has happened since 1947, is ‘Dharavi’, Asia’s biggest slum. It stands as a black markin the face of the financial capital of India, Mumbai.On this 62nd year of our independence let us everyone pledge to get rid of these problems that have been looming largeover our country. Let everyone do a small bit and we shall see that it will make a huge difference.