Overpopulation is a world-wide problem. Population explosion refers to a rapid increase in the world’s population. According to the most recent United Nations estimates elaborated by Worldometer, the current earth’s population is 7.8 billion. Today Earth is populated with more than 7.7 billion in comparison to the 18th century with only 800 million people on earth. It is estimated that around 108 billion people have lived throughout the whole of history. World population clock, a live counter that shows on average every birth and every death around the globe calculating the difference to give this single and seemingly unstoppable number. The population grows when the number of births is greater than the number of deaths. Far from one born every minute, it’s something more like 250 every minute or every second and with only 108 deaths per minute it all adds up to a growth rate of about one percent per year. Experts estimated that by 2050 there could be 10 billion of us. The industrial revolution happened and machines that paved the way for modern farming techniques allowed farm foods to be produced on an unprecedented scale making food more affordable and allowing families to grow. Medical advances also had a huge impact on keeping people alive for longer.

In Asia, India, home to 1.3 billion people, is the 2nd most populous country in the world after China. It is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2024, surpassing the population of China. India has put up a tremendous recovery after getting Independence from Britishers after suffering so much.  A lot has changed now as compared to the early 18th and 19th centuries as for now India is developing at a huge rate. Many factors led India to become such densely populated country like- 

  • In the early centuries, people were practicing the concept of early marriage and getting married at a young age, hence prolongs the childbearing age.  
  • Discrimination and preference for sons more than daughters compelled people to keep on having children until they have sons.
  • Low literacy rate resulted in people not aware of birth control methods and hence no understanding among people of the high population on resources.
  • More poverty led to people think“More children means more Earnings”. Therefore, they don’t think twice before having another child.
  • Improvement in Science and Technology.
  • 64% were net overseas migration of people and 36% were natural increase.
  • Reduced mortality rate.
  • The decline in the death rate due to improvement in medical facilities led to a constant increase in population.
  • Muslim society believes in a strong family. Hence, they are supposed to have more than 5 to 6 children.
  • According to the IMF, “Education leads to Lower Birth Rate and Slow Population Growth”. 

Overpopulation in India is one of the most serious problems in becoming a great obstacle in the way of national development of the country. Its effects are very dangerous in every aspect of human life like scarcity of food, unemployment, lifestyles, environmental pollution, education, poverty, social problems, etc. In ancient times, few people were there because of no hospitable places but after few years when people roam here and there to settle permanently, hospitals began to construct, and then any patient who got ill, they got cured and they lived happily thereafter. Therefore, people began to increase and hence all these factors led to so many people in India. Overpopulation in India also began to rise because of secular nature in India. India has more than four religions due to which people from different religions lived here and this resulted in more number of people in the country. Due to bad structured government, the population in India is on the rise since partition. In 1976 Indian officials started a forced sterilization program but the brute force approach prompted massive public outcry because reproduction is the basic rights of people. Family planning pretty much went out the window thereafter. Family planning helps to create a balance between the population and the resources of a country. While China, on the other hand, is rapidly and forcefully industrialized, it faced massive famine and housing shortages. Its economy needed to develop and the world deeply feared overpopulation. China came with a response by implementing a crucial policy called One Child Policy, which limited ethnic Chinese families to a single child, with few exceptions. To enforce the law, women were forcefully sterilized and fined for having too many children. Historians doubt that it prevented 300 million births claimed by the government. But china’s total fertility rate has fallen to 1.6 well below the 2.1 needed to maintain its size.  In 2011, the government claimed that the policy, and other birth control methods, have led to the prevention of 400 million births. The One-Child Policy was repealed in 2015 due to fear of economic ascent but it won’t make a significant difference, because it only sped up the unavoidable: As nations develop, they choose to have drastically fewer children. China’s one-child policy isn’t true to its name. For starters, it only affects about a third of China’s population, making exceptions for ethnic minorities and rural residents. But despite the limited enforcement, the One Child Policy has led to severe imbalances in Chinese society. Women are often pressured into having abortions if pregnant with a second child, as the penalty ranges from a fine to even losing a job. China’s one-child policy, like many governments sanctioned forms of population control, has led to severe negative effects and even human rights abuses. Eventually, this policy had miserably failed.  Iran also joined China on taking steps to stop population growth.

In the same way, India also joins hands with China to halt this increasing population by taking a crucial step. On 7th February 2020, a Nominated MP had introduced a bill in Rajya Sabha called The Constitution (Amendment) Bill,2020– Private Member’s Bill to propose incentives in taxation, education, and employment for people who restrict their family size to two children. On July 12th, 2019 Member of Parliament Shri Rakesh Sinha introduced ‘The Population Regulation Bill, 2019’ in Rajya Sabha which deals with disqualification from an elected representative after having more than two children. Sanjay Gandhi was the first person to introduce this policy in India but was highly criticized. Earlier many states of India had introduced this policy but repealed it after some time. Various states in India had put restrictions and norms for having more than two children. States like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh had put disqualification for those candidates having more than two children. In Maharashtra, the government ordered strict rules for women having two children instead they will be excluded from the benefits of PDS. Assam government took a huge step in implementing this important policy in 2017 and stated that no government jobs for those more than two children after January 2021. A new provision was included in Part IV of the Constitution called Article 47A (Duty of the State to promote small family norm) to withdraw all privileges from people who fail to follow the ‘small-family-norm’. Part IV of the Indian Constitution deals with the Directive Principle of the State Policy. As of now, the Supreme court has upheld the provision in several states that debars members with more than two children from contesting and holding panchayat posts. The government had to face a lot of criticism for a two-child policy like-

  • Absence of educated young people to maintain India’s technological revolution.
  • Increment of gender imbalance and undocumented children.
  • In 2000, the fertility rate was high at 3.2 children per women but by 2016, that number has already fallen to 2.3 children. 

Although fewer chances are there for the implementation of Two-Child Policy in India as India consist of various religion and some of them might be against this policy especially Muslims due to socio-cultural factors. The fertility rate of India shows a rapid fall in the past 20-30 years. Member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board gave his views in the recent interviews and expressed anger on the decision of the Indian Government. Although governments are still doing their best in introducing various schemes, policies, etc. to educate people about sex education but in vain. Hence, they decided to go for this crucial policy as for some time China’s one-child policy was successful. UN gave their views on India’s methods to stop the population as waste as for them it won’t work.  

In 2015, Amnesty International called for Iran to block a bill that would restrict access to contraceptives and sex education. In recent years, Iran has been trying to shake its birth rates since a severe drop in population growth during the 90s. The Iranian government has even introduced an official matchmaking website. Before the 1979, the Islamic Revolution, several groundbreaking women’s rights laws were passed in Iran. They mostly changed the status of women from second class citizens to autonomous members of society. However, the 1979 shift from a secular progressive state to an Islamic theocratic republic, take back these new rights. Their religious leader demanded an increase in population in the hopes of building a 20-million-member. By 1986, Iran had one of the highest growth rates in the world, and in just ten years jumped from a population of about 34 million to 50 million. This averaged about seven children per woman, compared to roughly four and a half children per woman worldwide. But in 1989, Iran’s new religious leadership made a complete 180. They began to worry that the country’s food, education, housing, and employment sectors would not be able to keep up with the growing population. The Iranian government even imposed certain penalties on having too many children, including a loss of food aid and no paid maternity leave. The drop in growth was so successful that Iran’s new president called for steps to increase population in 2006.

Overpopulation is a major concern for the safety of the planet. Stress should be pressed on controlling population growth to overcome the bad results affecting the major economy and disturbing the balance. To overcome this issue, every country has been putting all its efforts to stop the population explosion. Besides these three countries, some other countries have also been taking steps to control this issue. Using religions as an excuse to keep populating the world will not solve the problem.

About the author

Manan Mishra is from Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and has done his schooling till 12th class from there as well. While he was in 12th he prepared to do B.Tech but had a sudden change of heart and decided to pursue law. He is currently a law student pursuing BA.LLB. from a recognized law university, Bharati Vidyapeeth’s New Law College, Pune, Maharashtra. He has an interest in writing articles, blogs, essays, and in this lockdown situation he is utilizing his time by participating in various competitions. He enjoys singing, reading, and going for long drives.

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