Live and Express

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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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India Population and social enterpreneurship

I have had the opportunities to attend the meets and presentations of social enterpreneurship companies. I have also had the opportunity to talk to a few leaders in this area of work.

Social enterpreneurship companies are a key factor in developing the people in the India’s rural. They work in several states, and they have access to the local NGOs and organisations who work on the ground at grass root levels.  So, I was musing how it would be to take the message of population awareness through these companies, make people see the perils of continuing population growth, and make people feel responsible in their own families.

As per the India Census 2011 data, a whopping 84% of India households have 3 people and above!  55% of households have 3-5 people. 25% of households have 6-8 people. 7% of the households have 9 people and above!

You might ask “Well, is it not a good indicator that we are living in a joint-family setup?”  Yes and No. because on the flip side, these people in turn have the potential to give birth to more babies. India’s average population density is around 800 people/sq.km, while the ideal is only 197 people/sq.km.

So, I thought I would give this information to the social enterpreneurship companies, so that they , start guidelines to the people who get loans on the rural areas that if the family generates more babies, no more loans!  Reward and punishment through economic enablement!

This concept is not new. In Bangladesh, Mohammad Yunus’s social work has responsible reproduction as a directive (among their 16 directives) for the families that get loan from their organisation. So, why not in India?

I met these enterpreneurship companies higher-ups recently. I talked to them about this to see how they feel.  The response was not surprising, but the excuses that they gave were hilarious!

One said, “Venkat, see population is not the problem.  It’s the corruption and pseudo-social work done by the politicians. So, I would suggest that people like you take a stand against corruption.”
I blinked and then wiped my eyes thoroughly.

Listen to another one. This enterpreneurship company recently had a Twitter chat to get their message out. I participated in the chat, and brought up the population issue, and if they can have directives on the families that they give loans to.  This person pointed me to some weird Niger related data, which showed that a lean population will affect social work! Excuse me?  Do we have a lean population in India?  Why not take a cue from Bangladesh, which is right next to our country and has same population issue as India?

I tried to get into their shoes and understand their line of thinking of why they are saying no. It struck me immediately.  For them, the more no. of members in a household, the more business they can do!  But, I think they are short-sighted.  The more no. of members, will decrease their ability to serve many other families.  Why not spread the loans out to families which are responsible with their no. of children, and help them grow?

So, this misconception that more babies means more business should be removed from their minds.  They can gently persuade the families in the rural to not to generate babies.  It should be an integral part of their social plan. Otherwise their work cannot scale.

Social enterpreneurship companies along with the NGOs are the only hope to spread the message of population containment in the rurals.

Hope they would do!