Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Population bulge


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According to the UN, the population of the world will hit the 7 million mark which will put pressure on limited global resources. The increase will give rise to environmental, livelihood and life quality concerns generating formidable challenges. On the other hand, life expectancy of people in many parts of the world will go up. Average life expectancy in the world has risen from 48 years to 58. Couples are having small families, which has decreased infant mortality. But the picture is full of contrasts. Developed countries are having a larger share of aged people. That puts emerging countries like India at an advantage. But at the same time problems related to quality of life get complicated. Sustainability is threatened by failure to create opportunities, promote efficient use of depleting resources and raise food production.

India is likely to overtake China, the most populous country of the world by 2020 and is not likely to stabilise the population explosion before 2050. It occupies 2.4% of global landmass and accounts for 18% of the world’s population. There is need to arrest deforestation, bio-diversity, soil degradation, water depletion and pollution. The number of youth in the country is on the rise which puts pressure on job opportunities. At least 50 million more jobs are needed by 2015 to maintain the present ratio of the employed to total population at 20%. Mass scale factory employment and reform of agriculture are imperative. Housing shortage needs to be overcome. Food output along with rural prosperity need a boost. Health and education need to be given due importance. Healthcare in the country is in a sorry state. Women’s education has to expand which will lead to greater women empowerment. Finally, environmental strategies should be streamlined. India must achieve inclusive growth which will enable it to make use of and at the same time combat the population bulge.

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