Friday, June 14, 2024

‘Steps to be taken to steady population growth’


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From Our Special Correspondent

 New Delhi: Meghalaya with its high decadal growth rate is now in the second stage of demographic transition with a high birth rate and low death rate, but the State is all set to transit to the third stage or the stabilization level, Deputy Chief Minister Rowell Lyngdoh said on Saturday.

“The State will make efforts to reduce the birth rate and reach the third stage of demographic transition in which the birth rate as well as the death rate will be low thereby stabilizing the population growth rate, the Deputy Chief Minister told The Shillong Times before leaving for Shillong.

Lyngdoh was in the national capital to attend a debate on population stabilization organised by an NGO.

The high population growth rate is because of our good performance in reducing the death rate without commensurate reduction in the birth rate, he claimed.

Lyngdoh, who is also in charge of the Health department, said that there has been no outbreak of any disease in the State in the last two years. In case of Malaria, which was earlier rampant in the state, the number of deaths came down from 189 in 2009 to 89 in 2010 and only 25 this year.

The State also has a high and increasing sex ratio of 986 in 2011. It is only because of the progress made in the last two decades that the sex ratio could reach such a high level. The ratio is improving by 1.5 points per annum and, if the same pace continues, the sex ratio will reach the ideal level of 1000 by the end of the decade, he said.

The total fertility rate or the total number of children for a woman, as observed from the NFHS (National Family Health Survey) is 3.8 as against the national average of 2.7 and on the other hand, the State has been able to reduce the IMR (Infant Mortality Rate) to 53 which is lower than the national average, he said.

The growth rate is also declining over years and the rise in population is mainly due to fewer death rates because of the State’s proactive health policy, Lyngdoh added.

Meghalaya with nearly 30 lakh population has reported highest decadal growth of 27.82 not only among all the Northeastern states but also among all special category states and even states with vast

International borders like Punjab and Rajasthan in the latest Census held earlier this year.

Census figures for the whole country had showed that the percentage decadal growth during 2001-2011 has registered the sharpest decline since Independence – down from 21.54 to 17.64 per cent. In case of Meghalaya the rate has declined from 31.3 per cent to 28.82 per cent for the same period.

However, despite all reasons and facts provided by the State Government for the high decadal growth of population in Meghalaya, it is being suspected that a large number of illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh and Assam have been counted in the State during the Census, which has led to inflation of the decadal growth rate of population.


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