Essay on “Population Growth Rate in India” (846 Words)

ii. The Empowered Action group (EAG) states are Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

iii. During 2001-2010, as many as 25 States/UTs with a share of about 85% of the country’s population registered an annual growth rate of less than 2% as compared to, 15 States/UTs with a share of about 42% during the period 1991-2001.

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iv. 15 States/UTs have grown by less than 15 percent per annum during 2001-2011, while the number of such States/UTs was only 4 during the previous decade.

Before 1931, both death rates and birth-rates are high, whereas, after this transnational moment the death rate falls sharply but the birth rate only falls slightly. The principal reasons for the decline in the death rate after 1921 were increased levels of control over famines and epidemic diseases.

The latter cause was perhaps the most important. The major epidemic diseases in the past were the fevers of various sorts, plague, small pox and cholera. But the single biggest epidemic was the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919, which killed as many as 125 lakh people or about 5% of the |total population of India at that time.

Improvement in medical cures for these diseases, programmes for mass vaccination, and efforts to improve sanitation helped to control epidemics. However diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and diarrhoea and dysenteries continue to kill people even today, although the numbers are nowhere as high as they used to be in the epidemics of the past. Surat witnessed a small epidemic of plague in September 1994, while dengue and Chikungunya epidemics have been reported in various parts of the country in 2006.

Famines were also major and recurring source of increased mortality. Famines were caused by high levels of continuing poverty and malnutrition in an agro-climate environment that was very vulnerable to variations in rainfall. Lack of adequate means of transportation and communication as well as inadequate efforts on the part of the state were some of the factors responsible for famines.

However, as scholars like Amartya Sen and others have shown famines are not necessarily due to fall in food-grains production; they were also caused by a ‘failure of entitlements’, or the inability of the people to buy or otherwise obtain food.

Substantial improvement in the productivity of Indian agriculture, improved mean s of communication; and more vigorous relief and preventive measures by the state have all helped to drastically reduce death from famine. Nevertheless starvation deaths are still reported from some backward regions of the country. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is the latest initiative to tackle the problem of hunger and starvation in rural areas.

Unlike the death rate, the birth rate has not registered a sharp fall. This is because the birth rate is a socio-cultural phenomenon that is relatively slow to change. By and large, increased levels of prosperity exert a strong downward pull on the birth rate. Once infant mortality rates decline, and there is an overall increase in levels of education and awareness, family size begin to fall.

There is very wide variation in the fertility rates across the states of India. Some states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu have managed to bring down their total fertility rates (TFR) to 2.1 and 1.8 respectively. Many other states (like Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, and Maharashtra) have fairly low TFRs. But there are some states, notabily Bihar, M.P., Rajasthan and U.P, which still have high TFRs of 4 or more.

These few states already accounted for almost 45% of the total population as of 2001 and they will also account for about half (50%) of the addition of the Indian populations upto the year 2026. Uttar Pradesh alone is expected to account for a little less than one-quarter (22%) of this increase.

According to the Technical Group on Populations Projections constituted by the National Commission on Population, May 2006, annual population growth is expected to gradually decelerate from 1.6% in the five years during the 2006 to 0.9% in the five years ending in 2026. India’s population which is estimated to have gone up from the Census 2001 figure of 1029 million to 1112 million in 2006, is projected to increase to 1400 million by 2026.

The well-known demographic ‘dividend’ will manifest in the proportion of population in the working age group of 15-64 years increasing steadily from 62.9% in 2006 to 68.4% in 2026. The actual tapping of this demographic dividend will however depend a lot on ensuring proper healthcare and other human resource development such as education.

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