Que.1. Critically examine whether population is responsible for poverty or poverty is responsible for population. (150 Words) (UPSC - 2015)
Ans. TR Malthus, in an Essay on the “Principles of Population” establishes the kind of cause-effect relationship between both Population and Poverty and said that both are quite interlinked.
The focus of question here is basically on two issues which are intertwined :
1. Is population responsible for Poverty:
2. Is poverty responsible for population growth:
- Increase in the population results in more family expenses.
- It leads to rise in unemployment pushing family into vicious cycle of poverty.
- Increased number of people in agricultural families results in decreased portion of divided land among the family members causing lower incomes.
- Poverty influences population dynamics, including population growth, age structure, and rural-urban distribution.
- Poverty encourages to reproduce more with the expectation that the number of members in the family is directly proportional to the working force resulting in more income for the family.
- Poverty discourages families from sending their children to schools resulting in increased illiteracy. Due to this people remain uneducated on the ways of controlling birth rate using modern medical techniques.
- Poverty pushes families to get their female children married at a very young age which gives rise to early and increased re-production.
However, Poverty is not the result of population increase alone nor is poverty alone responsible for population growth. Overall, it is a complex issue and it can’t be determined what leads to what and thus, the focus shall be on the regulation and control of both of these phenomenon’s.
Que.2. 'What is demographic dividend & do you think that India's population is a great source of demographic dividend? (250 Words)
Ans. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) defines Demographic dividend as ‘the economic growth potential resulting from shifts in a population’s age structure, mainly when the share of the working-age population (15 to 64) is larger than the non-working-age share of the population’.
Demographic dividend in India:
- According to Economic Survey 2018-19, India’s Demographic Dividend will peak around 2041, when the share of working-age ,i.e. 20-59 years, population is expected to be near 60%.
India has a big advantage of demographic dividend, which can be key driver for its future growth. If harnessed properly it can bring :
- Better economic growth brought about by increased economic activities due to higher working age population and lower dependent population.
- Increased Labour Force that enhances the productivity of the economy.
- Rise in women’s workforce that naturally accompanies a decline in fertility, and which can be a new source of growth.
- Increase in savings rate, as the working age also happens to be the prime period for saving.
- Rapid industrialisation and urbanisation because of higher number of employment seeking population that would force higher economic activities.
However, important to note that this change in population structure alone cannot push growth. For ex, In the late 20th century demographic dividend in Asia resulted in a seven-fold increase in the GDP of many countries while in Latin America the growth was only two-fold.
So, to harness this benefit of demographic dividend we need to work on some key aspects like providing skill workforce, providing good health and education and skill development, women friendly work environment and to reduce inequalities.