As of 1st January 2023, India’s population stands at 1.4 billion, making it the world’s second most populous country, accounting for approximately 17.7% of the global population. However, by 2030, India is projected to become the most populous country in the world. While we must address the challenges that come with a growing population, it’s also essential to acknowledge the benefits it can bring.
The Merits of Having 1.4 Billion People
India is aiming to be a 5 Trillion economy and apart from the obvious math that more people = more workforce = more production of goods = more people paying taxes, the bigger opportunity that this size of population provides is the increased probability of new innovation in efficient ways to tackle resources & Energy generation issues, innovation in efficient ways to grow food, invention and discovery of better medical drugs, better machine & software.
The potential benefits of having a large population can result in increased economies of scale. However, we need to question whether our society, social structure, and government policies are focused on adequately training and developing the human resources required to achieve these benefits.
The Overpopulation Threshold
The basic idea is related to the limit of natural resources available. Any species in an ecosystem can be categorized as overpopulated when the natural resources available in that ecosystem fails to provide for sustenance.
The natural resources that are vital for human life sustainability includes land, food and water. Other non-renewable resources such as natural gas, oil & Coal etc. can be replaced with renewable resources with advancement in technology, however, these three vital resources should be actively conserved.
The imbalance between population and availability of vital resources can lead to depletion of quality of life. What will happen if the line is crossed?
Issues With Overpopulation
India, despite having a high population, is currently a food surplus country and not overpopulated. However, there are several issues that are directly linked to population growth. It is important to note that these problems can be addressed systematically, and increased efforts in this direction are necessary to ensure progress.
India faces various financial and environmental challenges as a result of its increasing population. Economically, there are challenges such as high unemployment rates, poverty, limited access to healthcare facilities, and education. These challenges are mainly due to the growing demand for resources and infrastructure that comes with an increasing population.
On the other hand, India is also facing environmental challenges that are linked to the rise in population. These challenges include issues such as air, water, and land pollution, degrading underground water levels, water scarcity, and severe air quality. These challenges highlight the need for more efforts to be made in managing the environmental impact of population growth.
While these problems are undoubtedly linked to population growth, they are not insurmountable. India has the potential to achieve sustainable development and a sustainable population level if we focus on addressing issues such as:
Inadequate waste management
Inadequate waste management is a problem that arises when there is too much waste generated by a large population, and not enough resources or infrastructure to properly manage it. This can lead to the pollution of the environment and contribute to health problems, as well as damage to natural habitats and ecosystems. Proper waste management, including recycling and waste reduction strategies, can help mitigate these issues.
Lack of political commitment
Lack of political commitment is another major issue related to overpopulation. Without a strong commitment from political leaders and decision-makers, progress on sustainable development and environmental protection can be slow or even stalled. Policies and initiatives that prioritize these goals can help ensure that the needs of the population are met while also protecting the environment.
Insufficient environmental education
Insufficient environmental education can contribute to the challenges of overpopulation by limiting public awareness of environmental issues and the importance of sustainable living. Education and awareness-raising initiatives can help promote a culture of sustainability and encourage individuals to take action to reduce their environmental impact.
Inadequate infrastructure is another significant challenge that arises from overpopulation. As the population grows, the demand for basic infrastructure like housing, water supply, and transportation increases, which can lead to inadequate and overcrowded facilities that do not meet the needs of the population. Investments in infrastructure development can help address these issues and improve the quality of life for people in rapidly growing areas.