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Is #Sterilization the solution to #India #Population?

This article was posted in Reuters yesterday, and it talks about how sterilization is the major means of India population control.

It’s really sad to hear that even in the days of Information Technology, social networks, smart phones, cloud, and reach-ability to the masses, to the rural masses in particular through startup apps., these kind of measures are required.

India technology evangelists and entrepreneurs should invest in making awareness creation solutions to not to have babies.  Most of the work will be done mentally, when we plant these ideas of other options available rather than to have babies, and physical measures like sterilization will come down.

If you look at India broadly, 70% is rural and 30% is urban/semi-urban.  Solutions like ‘Make In India’ which are destined to boost the Indian economy, should focus on the rural areas where the unemployment is the most, and generate job opportunities, such that people don’t generate babies for labour.

And the urban folks have the adoption option.  The Ministry of Women and Child Development, India under the able leadership of Mrs. Menaka Gandhi, is streamlining the CARA process and making adoption easy and hassle-free.  If only people can reject the stigma surrounding ‘It’s not MY child!’, things will be a lot better.

So, good work is being done, but we need to invest in data gathering, sharing and awareness creation.  Will the India tech. entrepreneurs take note?


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Let there be no illusions! #India’s #population is still at dangerous levels.

There’s a recent article on India’s population slowing down based on fertility rate studies. There are views expressed that finally we can heave a sigh of relief.

No.

That study is based on only the fertility rate – which is the new production of babies.  The truth and the fact is that we have already crossed the thresholds of healthy population rate multiple times as compared to the world standards (around 850 people per sq.km.). We already know that we are over-populated. Don’t we see that in the public places – people swarming with no respect to each others’ space and property?  When was the last time when anyone who’s coming in front of you, considered your presence, slowed down, and let you walk, in India?  We are 1.3 billion in number – 17% of world’s population!

Our agricultural lands are decreasing – because of unavailability of labour (movement to cities), water sources are draining out – because of new storage points not being planned, our air and environment are getting more polluted – not to mention about the new manufacturing oriented development agenda.

If you look at the map in the above article, you will see that the fertility rates themselves are on the higher side in the central Indian states.  This is in addition to the already dangerous levels of population in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. Literacy levels are low in these states, and they move to other states for labour. In fact, they generate babies for labour.

So, nothing for consolation. We need to act to take the message of dangers of over-population to the rural through grass-root workers of NGOs and social enterpreneurship companies – provide economic well-being and thus preventing them from generating babies for labour, and the message to adopt instead of generating new babies in cities.

And this has to done in a feverish scale. And bring down the child birth rate (incorrect to call it as fertility rate) to around 1 in the states mentioned above. Only then, we can breath, no pun intended.


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India Population and infertility clinics

To anyone, who is on top of the statistics on India Population, it would sound weird to hear that there’s a claim that there are not sufficient infertility clinics and treatment in India. But, as the recent article shows, they claim that India need more infertility treatment clinics !

It’s kind of weird. On one hand, we are running short of resources because of overwhelming population. On the other hand, we are still running to infertility treatment clinics. So, where is the disconnect?  It is in people’s minds where they are still seeing only children born out of their womb as their children.

I was talking to a friend recently who declared “Every responsible person in India should have their own children, in order to generate responsible citizens!” So, if one adopts a child which does not have anyone to care for, give them education and nurturing, would the child not grow as a responsible citizen?  It will, but, people think that their own blood and genes is so sacrosanct to generate ‘responsible’ citizens, and other people’s genes are not.

So, this individual ‘responsible’ reproduction, even with the aid of infertility treatment, has given rise to collective irresponsibility of generating mind-blowing 1.4 billion population.

The funny thing is the article above says that the infertility treatment is not ‘enough’ for India, and advocates ‘budget’ infertility treatment too!  I wonder if these doctors ever see the population statistics, or just their own survival!

I was talking to a writer today who said, ‘Venkat, with the economic prosperity, the no. of children will go down’.  Agreed, but when?  Time has run out already.  70% of the population is still under-privileged, and the ‘economic prosperity’ has not reached them. They still generate babies for labour.  By the time they achieve the prosperity, India will have irreversible issues.

If rural generates babies for labour, and city people go to any extent to have their own children, where will this end up?

Urban, semi-urban people have the luxury to make personal choices of not to have babies or adopt. They should exercise those choices. And that will make them as true patriots of India!

How can you help?

 


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Chennai: Are you going to bathe out of water bottles?

Chennai is always remembered for its December Carnatic music concerts and the aroma of filter coffee!

But that’s not everything Chennai is remembered for. On the bitter side, it’s remembered for its never ending water woes. And the bad news is, it just got worse, because of the expansion of the city.

recent report states that while Chennai’s current water supply is 600 million litters per day, it’s demand for water is going to grow to 1584 million litres per day in just 3 years! Urgent measures like getting ready to use the full capacity of desalination plants are going to yield very minimal results, as the demand is going to grow 2.5 times!

Chennai already has severe water shortage problem, and there’s no addition to the existing sources of water.

With a population of 8.6 million people as of January 30, 2014 (remember it was 4.3 million in 2001!), the demand is getting worse because of population explosion, immigration and urbanization. People can take pride with the fact that Chennai is growing by boundaries, and hence their real estate value is going to go up, but with no water to drink and use, the city’s existence and value is going to collapse if not now but in the near future.

In spite of Tamilnadu having many Tier 2 cities, the immigration is still happening to Chennai. Moving some Government functions and IT/BPO industries to the other Tier 2 cities will help mitigate the problem a bit. There are several logical choices like Trichy, Madurai, Tirunelveli and Erode.

Government is taking all the steps possible to take care of the water problem, but, ultimately it is in the citizens hands on how this can be mitigated.

I am not a water conservation advocate, because I know that at this scale, any amount of water conservation will not solve problem. I am not a tree planting advocate for Chennai, because (a) in Chennai, all the land has been usurped, (b) even if we start planting trees now, it will take 10 to 15 years for the trees to grow and take care of the water level – not to mention the Chennai problem of salt water mixing with underground water.

But I am going to suggest that Chennai folks stop their reproduction!  Irrespective of whatever the Government does to mitigate the situation, even, if the state capital offices and IT/BPO companies are moved to other cities, if people keep on giving birth, it is not going to help the situation.

One could stay single (or) marry but not generate babies (or) adopt instead of giving birth.

There’s still a tendency to run to fertility clinics when existing people don’t have water to drink and use, and there are children on streets with no one to take care of them.  Instead, folks should think of going to adoption centers and orphanage homes and see if they can adopt.

I am providing a few links on how individuals can act than blaming it on everyone and everything else.

As someone said, Chennai is drinking from water bottles, it won’t be far when it starts to bathe from water bottles. Now, that would be sad.

Resources:


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Delhi, may be it’s time for – We two, adopt two!

Congratulations! Delhi is the 2nd most populous city in the world! Sounds as though we are lifting some trophy in the World Olympics Championship! Not!  The bomb had already ticked a lot, and it now exploded! Now it’s time for the triage. Looky looky here!

That article talks about two things: (1) Condoms & sex education, (2) migration from other places.

Do you actually believe that a person living in a large city is unaware of the consequences of unprotected sex?  If yes, do we know what percentage?  Or should we take an SMS poll to figure out that number?

Yet, average people are bogged down by the mental challenges of handling their family, friends and circle for not having a kid. If they are really up to not having a biological baby, there are multiple options available: (a) stay single, (b) get married but decide not to have kids, (c) get married, but adopt instead of having biological children (in fact, the office of CARA, the department for adoption enablement under Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, is right there in Delhi!)

Migration from other places because of lack of opportunities, jobs, and sheer ambition to make it big in a city are also important reasons. While the state governments have to take care of the basic amenities in the rural and towns, and provide moderate growth opportunities, so that people don’t move to the cities, it’s the people who are in the cities who have lots of opportunities to do something about containing the India population.

Why do I say that? Because urban people are mostly (hopefully) educated; they have access to information; they have independence to think through and make personal choices like not having kids; and they have means to adopt children if they wish to, from orphanages and homes,and give them a home.

Delhi Government cannot keep building metro over metro, double-decker metro, underground triple-decker monorail, etc. It’s the urban people who need to take responsibility, if they want to live well in a city state, which is around 1500 sq.km in size (including NCR), but has around 25 million in population. That’s roughly 16700 persons per sq.km, while the healthy population density for India is 197 persons per sq.km.

Remember, it’s not ‘We two, Ours two’ anymore. It’s ‘We Two, Adopt Two’ time!

YOU, yes YOU! Please think about it, and act, or rather not act in the wrong direction!

Resources:


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Optimum population density – Where does India stand ?

In this blog, I will introduce you to the concept of Population Density. It’s the number of human beings per sq. km. Naturally, one would be curious to know how many human beings can live well without ecological and resource issues within a sq.km. This is called the Optimum Population Density.

There had been quite a lot of debates about how the ‘Optimum Population Density’ should be calculated, and whether it made sense. Several parameters were discussed, and several reasons were quoted to argue that such a parameter does not make sense. The culture and ways of living of each region varies, and thus it is not logically correct to pin-down the number, is what the gist of the argument was.

But, eventually, an organisation called ‘Population Matters‘ in UK, came up with a way of measuring the density, taking into consideration the ecological and biological constraints.  And here is what they found :

Population Overshoot Index while taking into consideration ecological and biological constraints

Note that this data is as of 2007, and we are now in 2014.  The India Population has increased another 0.2 billion.

 

If you look at the report closely, India Population is at 68th position in terms of the overshoot.  Overshoot is how much of population is in excess to the sustainable population, based on the eco and bio considerations. How the eco and bio parameters are considered and derived is explained well in the introduction section of the report.

Given the India’s total area of 3,287,590 sq. kms, and given the sustainable population of 0.650 billion as per the report, the average population density per sq.km turns out to be 197 persons / sq.km. But, when I was looking at the Wikipedia article on India population, these are the densities of the topmost states (leaving alone places which are union territories) :

Bihar: 1,102 persons / sq.km   West Bengal: 1,030 / sq.km   Kerala: 859 / sq. km   Uttar Pradesh: 828 / sq. km

Even if we account for the ‘Thoda adjust kar lo bhai’ (Can you please adjust a bit?) attitude of India, 10 times overshoot of the living standards of the rest of world is very troublesome, don’t you agree?

So, what are we going to do? We got to do something different, not do the same thing of reproducing more and more, but a bit different than how we saw things in the past, and change our attitudes – because, at the current rate, we not only cannot live well, we are going to be cruel to each other – in a country where people don’t respect the concept of queues!

 

Resources:

1. India Population : What can I do?

2. Google search : India Population

3. Adoption? It’s so difficult! – Well, may be not anymore!


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Moves to curb delays in India child adoption

Recently, the Central Minister of India, who takes care of child adoption area, announced a series of decisions to streamline the child adoption process in India.

It is a very good step, coming at a very appropriate time, for three different reasons. One, children in the adoption homes are not being able to find prospective adoption parents because of several hindrances and likewise, prospective parents were not able to adopt soon because of the same issues.  There is also the question of people who want to adopt, so that they don’t add more to India’s burgeoning population by the way giving biological birth to a child.  In all these three aspects, the measures announced are welcome.

It was announced that statutory status to CARA will be announced. This is good because it increases accountability for results, and also gives power for the department bureaucrats to take swift actions.

It was announced that no child will remain in an adoption home for more than 100 days.  This will make the home accountable for finding a suitable parent for the child as soon as possible. Courts and Chief justices have been asked to minimize the delays in issuance of court orders for children to be enabled to be adopted.

The best part is the warning for the specialized adoption agencies to be blacklisted, if they don’t keep and update their databases about children ready to be adopted and the numbers up to date!  This is very important, and several people have complained that the information about child availability is not being made available by the homes at the first place, and even if it’s available, it’s out of date, and when they physically go to the center, they get the reply that children are not available for adoption.

CARA was also told to ask the Child Welfare Committees to enable issuance of ‘legally free’ certificates for the children that are ready to be adopted.  This is also welcome, as the process will be fastened.

Adoption statistics at the CARA website shows that only 3924 children have been adopted through the agency in 2013-14.  This is a very small number compared to the number of children who are without homes living in cities, and the country’s population of 1.3 billion. This clearly shows that somewhere things are not going right.  May be a structural and process change is needed in CARA. More hands and heads are required both in the policy-making levels, as well as the support stuff in the offices who handles parents requests and process them.  One potential parent observed that the phone calls to CARA are not answered most of the times, and emails are not being replied.  Enough staffing (as it is the central agency which handles requests from all-over India), and monitoring of the processes are very much required.

Hope the Indian Central Government follows up with the decisions announced and streamline the processes and removes the structural obstacles.