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#India to beat #China in #Population by 2022; Child #Adoption process getting simpler

Life is a mixed bag.

Last week, two significant headlines hit the news. The first is about the estimate that the India Population is going to exceed China by 2022which is a bad news, as we had expected it to happen by 2028 earlier.  The other is about the child adoption process in India is getting faster, easier and transparentwhich is a good news, as more people including NRIs can adopt in a simpler way moving forward.

One is a problem, and other is a potential solution. While some even neglect to think that the child adoption is a potential solution to the population problem (and say that adoption is emotional, the child and parent should connect well, one cannot adopt ANY child, etc, which are all reasonable), many consider it as a viable solution.  Here is an example of a parent who thinks so.

The Central Adoption Resource Agency has created a database of children that are waiting for adoption, and it has linked the adoption agencies to the database.  This way quick access to children to be adopted is available to the agencies.  Potential parents can now register online for them to be considered.  The guidance will be effective by August 2015, is what the post says.

With these updates, the urban folks of India now have a choice.  We have written several blogs before encouraging urban parents to adopt and why.  Several things have changed from the past, and attitude of the young generation is changing too.  With limited resources that India has, population has to be kept under strict check, and adoption is one way out – to give life to an existing child rather than creating another which will add additional burden to the country – burden may be a strong word, but yes, that’s how it is – with population increasing 1.6% in India every year!

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The value of family and life – #India #Population

I write about India Population. And it’s a very unpopular topic.

Sometimes you need the steel heart to read the personal attacks that emanate from people who think that their rights are being violated when asked to consider not to give birth to children.

Here are some of the feedback received from very well known members of the community:

‘You look like you have lived your life well. How can you ask us to not to have babies? I am an unmarried woman in my twenties, and I want to have my family’.

‘Have you ever given birth and raised children?’

The first comment is because they fear the system/government will prohibit having babies.

The second comment is tricky.  If I answer ‘Yes, I have had children’, then they will blast me ‘You advice something for the world, and you do things differently. Hypocrite!’  If I answer ‘No, I have not had children’, then they will blast me ‘See? How will you know the value of having a family? You should never advice!’

Let’s look at it objectively.

The moment your child gets out into the streets of India, they become one in the 2.72 billion people. And the family safety net that you provide is lost.  In the streets, today, people don’t even see each others faces and smile at strangers. They are all driven by their own missions of getting to office and coming back. So, the ‘value’ that you are talking about in your ‘own’ child just vanishes in the society.

More so with these huge numbers of people. As the numbers increase, tolerance to fellow human beings will naturally reduce. All the push-pulls that happen in the public transport, and the politics that happen at the work places will increase as there are more number of people, because, everyone has to take care of their survival.

If you are not objective, and take care of managing the no. of people that this nation can hold (by the way, we are 17.5% of world’s population in 2% of world’s land!), then nature will be cruel.  By nature, I don’t mean just the land, water, air, etc, but also all the life forms including human.

Our nation has been a very tolerant one in general. ‘Please adjust’ has been our mantra. But that will break with a population growth of 1.6% every year, as per the latest reports. People will start being cruel to each other. Like buying illegal software through an IRCTC official and booking 36 tickets at once illegally!

Just take a look around, and see if we really more children. How are we going to educate and give jobs to all these population? What about drinking water, food, space to live? For God’s sake, how about experiencing the pleasantness of life with some space instead of always being jam-packed?

If one really values life and family, they will understand it’s being cruel to everyone to add more. And probably adopt children who have no one to care for.

Someone said ‘There will come a time when the government will start asking to produce babies’. That would be a golden day to live when we are all joyful, and want to make copies of ourselves.

But right now, we are over-crowded and miserable. Let’s stop!


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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 passport issuance renewal – a few thoughts

The passport application & renewal in India has become relatively hassle-free and straight-forward, thanks to the new online tracking system. I applied on 20th and got my passport on hand on 31st.  The process is transparent – and stage-by-stage, the progress is updated in the web-site at http://passport.gov.in . No stage takes more than a day or two. Police verification stage proceeds smoothly and fast if you go to the police station and give your details with the photocopies of I.D. proofs and the documents that they ask for.

I do have a lot of concerns in the forms and the physical logistics of the passport seva kendra. This is true for the passport seva kendra in Lalbagh, Bangalore, and passport office in Kormangala, wherever specified.

1) Annexure F asks for the applicant name followed by S/O information, using blanks. Nowhere it says in the application or the associated instructions that the applicant’s full name (First name followed by middle name followed by last name) should be entered in the applicant name. Most of us tend to enter just our first name, especially since the S/O is asked immediately after the first name. If we enter just the first name, it is not accepted by the officials.

2) Lalbagh PSV, Bangalore: The place where they issue the tokens and the enquiry area is pretty crowded. Officials don’t realise the fact that every applicant is carrying sensitive documents with them like I.D. proofs and the queue system does not work. Everyone tries to push and fall on each other. If anyone’s document is lost, it is a big problem for them.  On the other hand, there is plenty of space inside the seva kendra allocated for the first stage of application processing called the ‘A’ section in the right side of the office, which is not used at all. This space should be around 5000 sq.ft. Why not use this space for receiving the applicants in a well-managed fashion, in a queue or a token system, so that people don’t fall over each other?

3) The no. of people attending to the tokens in the ‘B’ and ‘C’ sections are just 4 people each on a typical day, wherease ‘A’ section has 20 people. This leads to ‘B’ and ‘C’ section applicants waiting for a long time to be served. On the day I went for the interview, 100 applicants were sitting for around 7 hours waiting to be served in ‘B’ and ‘C’ sections.  The tokens were being issued even after 4:30 PM, which lead to heavy crowd.  It was sad to see the Assistant Regional Passport Officer herself doing the ‘B’ and ‘C’ verifications on the day I went. Her role should be to monitor whether things are moving smoothly in the office and to take actions where required.  Token issuance should be stopped once the ‘B’ and ‘C’ section no. of applications become unmanageable. No. of officers processing the ‘B’ and ‘C’ section should be increased.

4) There is a wonderful token issuing software algorithm to manage the applicants category like women, children, senior citizens, tatkal and normal quota, but at the end of the day, we all feel the crunch as the algorithm’s speed does not match with the no. of officers serving the ‘B’ and ‘C’ section. Talk about smart machines managed by not-so-smart people!

5) In the Kormangala passport office, applicants are forced to stand outside without cover in the queue though some limited no. of shaded seats are available, but they are not sufficient.  The token issuance windows look like a foreign embassy where applicants are asked to stand outside their office for visa stamping ! (Everyone know the Chennai scene near Gemini flyover!). If India itself treats their citizens like this, how will other countries respect India’s citizens ?

5) Securities manning the exit gate at Lalbagh PSV are openly asking to write their name and mobile number in a form that solicits Tata AIG insurance. This clearly falls in the borderline of illegal marketing. I don’t know who pays the securities – the Ministry of External Affairs (or) Tata AIG. Action has to be taken on this front.

If space and the monitoring and servicing of crowd is done properly in passport seva kendra, things will move a lot faster and smoother. Will the Ministry of External Affairs look into these points and take action?

 


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And so he starts thinking…

It was a hot day in mid March. I was travelling in a train from Bangalore to Chennai.

I was in a non-AC reserved compartment. I take books with me to kill time, but books also fail me at times, as it gets too boring to sit at a place for long.  Though I stare out and let my thoughts wander – and it usually lets the time fly away – I sometimes still feel bored.

I have always thought about the no. of people travelling in the Bangalore-Chennai sector, especially between Vaniyambadi and Chennai. It’s a whole lot. In spite of 7 trains a day, even the reserved compartments are full of standing people who  have not reserved their seats.  I see people cursing those who travel unreserved in reserved compartments, and the ticket inspector. But what they miss out is – how many people can the ticket inspector drive away from the reserved compartments, and for how many days?  It’s simply not possible. Also, the problem is not of irresponsibility, but of demand. It takes half the time and money to travel in train than in the buses, and hence people just hop-in into the reserved compartments and travel.

I have had my share of arguments and discussions with RTSO (the research wing that designs the railway compartments). I have argued with them that they should design non-AC double-decker coaches, so that common man can travel in them and the demand can be met.  They can’t keep adding coaches to the trains, as already 6 to 7 coaches of a train like Lalbagh stand outside the platform in a station like Arakkonam. Their answer is that they can’t increase the height of the coaches because they have to re-adjust the electric poles that supply power to the engine, so they are lowering the ground level of the compartment, in which case, dust will come in if the coach has open windows, and hence they can design only AC coaches! Makes sense. So, the railways are doing their bit. So, where is the problem?

I went towards a door to stand and gaze out, and there’s this person who was sitting near the door. We start talking about various things. He says he is from Ambur and works in a petrol supply company. I bring up the crowd issue, and how people just hop in the trains in whatever compartments they could find nearby. He agrees it’s a problem, but says he does that all the time as it’s convenient for him.

I ask him, ‘But you know, how can railways cater for such a huge crowd? Not just railways, we need to provide food, water, electricity, land, jobs etc to all the people. So, why give birth more and more, while there are existing children which need caring and shelter?’. He winces. Probably the background and culture he is coming from is for more and more babies, or against adoption. But he sees the point. He laments ‘Who thinks about all those?’. But then I can see a change in his attitude. I am sure I had made him think. I’m happy that I happened to stumble upon one person who happens to live where there’s dense population, and made him think too.

Many more minds to think. Adoption could be a cure to our population disease. Especially in cities and towns where it is feasible.  If we need to experience being a parent for a loved one, why not adopt ?

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