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Population Growth: A Demographic Dividend or Burden?

Written by Sumedha Manhas, a grade 10 student.

To begin with, I would like to quote a dictum that -” a finite world can support only a finite population, therefore it makes clear that population will have to be managed”…

By I Kid You Not , in Opinion (U/A 7+) , at August 3, 2021 Tags:

Written by Sumedha Manhas, a grade 10 student.

To begin with, I would like to quote a dictum that -” a finite world can support only a finite population, therefore it makes clear that population will have to be managed”.

The world has seen an an exponential growth in population since the 1950s. India is the second most populous country in the world .For an overpopulated country like India, where population is being considered a burden as for now, there is a possibility that the population may grow beyond sustainability. Also, an increasing population can also lead to shortage of resources as result.

David Suzuki rightly said, ‘’rapid population growth and technological innovation, combined without lack of understanding about how natural systems of which we are part of works has created a mess”. With rapid increase, the most daunting task will be to increase employment opportunities in India for growing labour force every year but to also reduce the backlog of unemployment rate of previous year.

The current population of India is 1.35 billion and amongst these 73 million of people live in extreme poverty with estimated 13.6 million unemployed people, and if we do the math upcoming years will definitely put a baneful effect on Indian economy if ways aren’t found to boost economy and use population as capital and to add salt to the wound during COVID-19 lockdown, the unemployment rate in India has risen to 11.5 percent!.

Global warming and pollution are some of the biggest threats to the environment, in 2017 USA emitted 6.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases alone with a population of 32.51 crores. If the world population increases ,the increase in demand and consumption will lead to more exploitation of the finite resources which took thousands of years to make, as population growth stresses the supply of resources .

The UN has predicted the world population will rise to 9.7 billion by 2050, and something is not done to find a solution to it, population growth would turn out to be a major crisis.

Also, the U.S Census Bureau predicts that by 2030 the number of older Americans will outnumber the children. This means that there will be fewer people people working, which, in turn would means that the labour force will decrease and more elderly people will rely on government sponsored programs which will have a negative effect on country’s economy.

A developing country like India is an archetype of deprivation of human quality of life due to increasing population. Rapid increase in population will also effect the quality of infrastructure, health service, housing, sanitation, water supply, roads etc. One of the most serious effects of population growth is saving and investment and the rate of capital formation in country. India’s population has been growing 2.2 percent per year which puts burden on financial resources to feed and provide for teeming of millions, especially unproductive consumers. Many countries with rapidly growing youth populations are struggling already to educate their young people while Some countries in spite of having high per capita income are anticipating rapid growth in numbers of youth are among those with very high youth unemployment rates.

For example countries like Jordan ,Iraq and Saudi Arabia have high youth unemployment rates and youth population is expected to grow by 20 percent in upcoming years. Considering all these facts economists still believe that countries like India and Chinahave potential to reap a major “demographic dividend”. The importance of channelizing the potential of youth for a full realisation of demographic dividend is evident in comparison of recent trends in population age structure and youth employment and gross domestic product(GDP) per capita in Tunisia and Republic of Korea. The ability of countries to harness demographic dividend depends critically on their investments in human capital, particularly amongst young people poised to enter the labour force by way of enhancing their skills etc. and only then their productivity, entrepreneurship and innovation will drive future economic growth.

If youth is provided with sufficient education, training and jobs then even their growing numbers would turn out to be beneficial and nations would reap the benefits of such human capital ,but this totally depends upon our policy makers and strategies a country adopts. Finally Its up to the Countries to make its ‘Growing Population – a demographic dividend or a burden’.

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