There is an imperative need for India to revisit its population management measures in view of the changing dynamics and profile of its demography characterized by a healthy increase in the number of old people as also a phenomenal growth of young populace, a top economic official of the country said here on Sunday.
“India needs to reorient its policies for population management to take care of the needs of both its old and young people and harness their energies for a speedy economic growth,” Dr Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Advisor, Government of India, said.
Speaking at a seminar on ‘Development and Environment’ organised by Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram (BVK) as part of Sri P Parameswaran Navati Celebrations, the official drew attention to the burgeoning population of youth in the country, which has resulted in increasing its production capacity.
Dr Sanyal said the government has been implementing measures for population control and management. Urbanisation has also played a key role in controlling population. “But population control in itself will not improve the economic condition of our country unless the productive capacity of the people is effectively channelized,” he noted.
Citing the example of Kerala, he said the situation has become more acute in the state which has registered a huge spurt in the number of old people due to improved healthcare facilities. “Due to availability of quality medical facilities, a vast majority of its people are healthy. This has also led the government to spend large amounts of money for pension and other benefits as people retire from service by the age of 56”, he added.
The declining birth rate in Kerala can also lead to an economic crisis as the state’s production capacity would be affected, he said.
Dr Sanyal said the presence of slums is the biggest threat for urabanisation. Rather than demolishing the slums, the basic infrastructure at these places should be improved.
Dr V S Vijayan, member, Kerala State Bio Diversity Board, said some of the recommendations made by the Gadgil and Kasturi Rangan committees should be implemented to protect the Western Ghats. The recommendations of these committees should be given to the grama sabhas (village bodies) for their approval.
“The reckless use of pesticides in agriculture is causing huge damage to human health. The organic cultivation policy during the V S Achuthanadan government was sabotaged by the officials and it got approval after a long time,” said Dr. Vijayan, who is also a member of the Western Ghat Ecology Expert Committee.
There are attempts from several quarters to bring genetically modified seeds to India. Organisations like Bharatheeya Vichara K
endram should come forward to resist the move, he added.
Both development and environmental protection are important, and any attempts by vested interests to impede the country’s development should be resisted, he added.
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