Saturday, July 11, 2009

World Population Day - is the Indian government messing up again ?

On July 11 , World Population Day , the Indian government's theme is celebrating a " Partnership for Population Stabilization" . The byline is - Rising Numbers ... Limited Resources. The government mindlessly continues with its program for "population control" - a hangover from the 60s, when experts were worried about a Malthusian crisis and feared that overpopulation would drive the world into chaos and crisis. While those fears have proven to be completely unfounded, the tragedy is that the Indian government is still stuck in the past and has not kept up with the times, except for changing its logo and making it more "politically correct".

Let's analyse their rhetoric. When you form a partnership, who is it formed with ? The government continues to ram its advise down its citizens' throats, based on "expert advise" from its policy makers, and multinational organisations, most of whom have a hidden agenda.

This is a typical "top-down" approach, which is beloved of demographers, politicians and bureaucrats. It's completely divorced from reality, and has little bearing on what's important to citizens !

Government experts cannot continue to sit in their ivory towers and tell people how many children to have , based on what they feel is " good for the country". For one, the experts are often wrong . Any good economist knows that India's strength today is its people - and the only reason India attracts billions of dollars from foreign investors is because we are now in a demographic sweet spot , thanks to our growing numbers of young citizens. These are our strength - not our weakness ! We know longer need to go out with a begging bowl, and are considered to be a developing superpower, rather than less developed country, thanks to our people !

Our focus should be on playing to our strengths and capitalising on them, rather than treating them as a weakness. Unfortunately, Indian experts are very easily manipulated by foreigners, who has a vested interest in seeing that India remains controlled and controllable.

A true partnership is formed between equals - where both sides respect each other, and consider the other's welfare, to create a win-win situation. Citizens choose to have babies for their own reasons , to maximise their personal wellbeing , and we need to learn how to tap into this basic biological urge, so that everyone benefits.

I feel the best slogan would be - Every Child, A Wanted Child ! ( Har Baccha,Chhaha Baccha,in Hindi). This would respect each individual citizen's right to choose for themselves - and create a country of empowered citizens who can lead India into the future. Thus, I might want to have just two children; whereas a poor farmer may want six. As long as each of us have children whom we desire and love, we will bring up these children well, and strengthen not just our families, but the country as well ! The government should facilitate this process of allowing people the personal choice to plan their own families - only then will it really contribute to family welfare ! It should learn to respect the "bottom of the pyramid" and trust that its citizens are capable of making their own decisions for themselves, rather than trying to force its agenda down their throats !

1 comment:

  1. Hear, hear!

    Environmental doom-mongering and sustainable orthodoxies across Western institutions and public life have succeeded in turning a cause for celebration into a horror story. Thankfully there are humanists who are not prepared to let the UN World Population Day remain unchallenged. Don't let the UN exploit the issues of family planning and sexual health to support the notion that there are too many people on this planet. Check out this video at , made by young volunteers at the feisty UK charity WORLDwrite, for some sober discussion of why celebrating more human life on the planet is an essential demand for humanists today. Three Cheers for 7 billion


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