World Population Day 2020-- Increasing population is a curse!

Today the world is observing World Population Day.  The United Nation has started marking July 11 as the World Population Day in 1990. The world population is increasing at the alarming rate of 1.05 percent per year.  Eight million people are added to the world every year, and by the end of 2030 the world is expected to see a huge surge in population.  Approximately nine Billion people will occupy the world’s space. It took hundreds of thousands of years for the world population to grow to 1 billion – then in just another 200 years or so, it grew sevenfold. In 2011, the global population reached the 7 billion mark, and today, it stands at about 7.7 billion, and it's expected to grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 10.9 billion in 2100.
As far as India is concerned, some people say that the country will soon be a nation of old people as the 8.4 per cent of the current population is above the age of 60 years.   It is the duty of a nation and its leaders to support and sustain their citizens. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) projection, the population of elderly people (above age of 60 years) in India will increase by 425 million by 2061. In other words, every fourth person in India will be 60 years old.
The positive thing is that the mortality rate is on decline and life expectancy is on the rise. The projection says that the Indians are living longer, working longer and this trend will continue.  The UNFPA projection also says Indian women will live longer than men. It is now the duty of policy-makers to keep this in mind while formulating the policy or designating the programme for them.
Increasing population is a curse when a voluminous population act as a hindrance to sustainable development especially in relation to environmental issues. Similar to right to live, right to free speech and right to education, the ‘right to family planning’ is also enshrined in the annals of the United Nations. The 1994 international conference on population development set the benchmark for further evolution of the population day. The unfolding of the agendas and discussions towards contributing significantly to the World Population Day is the duty of every citizen of the world. Global fertility is not the decline as it is predicted to rise. The life expectancy and number of elderly people living are factors which can offset population control.
We are living in COVID-19 era. The COVID-19 crisis has taken a staggering toll on people, communities and economies everywhere. But not everyone is affected equally. Women, who account for the largest share of front-line health workers, for example, are disproportionately exposed to the coronavirus. Supply chains around the world are being disrupted, impacting the availability of contraceptives and heightening the risk of unintended pregnancy. As countries are on lockdown and health systems struggle to cope, sexual and reproductive health services are being sidelined and gender-based violence is on the rise.
Increasing population will also affect the efforts by the UN and other authorities to ensure universal access to health care, housing, education, sanitation, food, water, and energy.Thus, we need to realise the pace at which the world population is growing and zero down on the quantity of the amenities and resources needed by the people.

- Prabhakar Purnadare

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