For a country like India, The World Population Day on July 11 held major significance as it faces a threat of population explosion in the present time.
The day was an occasion for the country, which has the highest population of over a billion, to ponder over the gravity of problems emerging due to a steadily increasing population, faster than its occurrence on any place on the planet.
Addressing a gathering comprising various high-level officials of the Health ministry and academia on World Population Day, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad highlighted how dangerous an uncontrolled population growth could be to all.
"For India the World Population Day is very important, even if it may not be that important for rest of the world. For, if no control is put on the population growth, it turns a cause of worry. It is true that a big family delights everyone but the bigger question is how one should manage it."
Azad said that today Indians can be found in every country be it America, Japan, Britain, Australia, Gulf and all countries. But following global downward trend, there are fewer opportunities abroad.
Giving an example of the national capital, Azad said: "Thirty two years ago, population was quite less here. There were one lane roads, which were later increased to 2,4,6, and even 8-lanes. If it used to take six minutes to reach airport from a place, it should have decreased to two minutes. But it takes 30 minutes to cover same distance. It's all because of a growing population in comparison to development. Despite a good generation of electricity, water, harvests, and road constructions, it fails to meet the growing demand. There seems a competition between population and development to supersede each other."
The minister pointed that India has 17 percent of the world population. But it has just 2.5 percent of land. "It means the carrying capacity of the land is far less than the population. It's matter worth brooding."
He said: "Today, there is a public outcry over food items being so costly, but it's all related to a growing population. It there is high population growth and low production, the dearness is obvious. There are talks of increasing supply, but efforts are not being made by us to minimize the increasing demand factors."
"To bring change, people beyond religious faith or identities will have to think about problems due to population. It also leads to law and order problem. The fight between haves and have-nots is also because of population. The Naxalite problem is its live example. There are people who want a bigger chunk of land but on being disappointed to get it, the resort to violent means."
"If we have a less population, it would be possible to provided food, water, employment, electricity and all other needs."
Talking about emergence of slums in metropolitan cities, Azad said people from rural areas, in search of livelihood, turn towards cities and it leads problems in urban areas. "The facilities available to accommodate a number of people cannot satisfy a population which remains unpredictable and is consistently rising," Azad said.
There is need to take family planning to every family without being forceful about it. "We from the Family Welfare Ministry's side want the media including print and electronic to propagate in common man's language the message of delaying marriage age and the gap between two children should be encouraged. People should marry when they are between 25 and 30 years of age. The message should reach especially to rural areas of the country."
Azad in his concluding remarks said population control is in everyone's favor. The availability of water, electricity, road, and food would depend upon population control.
India's population stood at 1,142,502,388 or, over 1.14 billion as on July 21, 2009.