India will soon be the most populous country with its population growing at an alarming rate.
Sonal Matharu | August 20, 2010
“Population stabilisation in India carries a stigma of emergency and after 33 years this issue was discussed in Lok Sabha in this session of parliament. After a six-hour long debate over the issue, the ministers of state unanimously agreed that something must be done to control the population growth in India,” Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh’s (JSK) executive director Amarjit Singh said this here on Friday.
JSK, or National Population Stabilisation Fund, is an autonomous body of the health ministry created to achieve population stabilisation by 2045.
As part of the World Population Day on July 11, the health ministry and JSK joined hands with Delhi Public School Society, a private school chain in India, to carry forward the message of controlling population growth through children.
“Till date we were celebrating World Population Day sitting in the ministry. This year on, we decided to bring it out in the open to the people, especially to the villages, to people in high fertile states, with the help of school children,” said Singh.
India’s present population is 1.2 billion and it’s growing at the rate of 1.4 percent per annum, whereas, the population of China is growing at 0.6 percent per annum. Six north-Indian states - Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh – add to 50 percent of population growth in India. Out of these states, 22 percent growth of population is from UP alone.
The students who participated in the national level debate at DPS RK Puram, had come from the above mentioned six states and they debated on the topic: A large young population is an asset to India.
Health secretary Sujatha Rao was also present at the event and said, “Young people in a country can be an asset if they are healthy, educated, and competent and have adequate skills. Malnourished, sick people dying of diseases are not an asset for the country.”
Singh added that population will keep growing unless we educate the girls, delay the age of marriage and increase the gap between children. He gave the example of Bihar where only 20 percent girls reach secondary schools and over 70 percent girls in rural Bihar are married before they turn 18 years old.
Women, especially in many villages in the country, have no access to doctors or contraceptives and this leads to unwanted pregnancy. However, in some cases, the couples keep on having children till they have a son. Fear of infant and child mortality is another reason why couples have too many children, Singh explained to a large audience of school students.
Minister of state for health Dinesh Trivedi also marked his presence at the event and interacted with the participants.
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