Population Growth: A Hindrance to Economic Development?

Population Growth A Hindrance to Economic Development


India’s population is increasing at an alarming rate. India is till now experiencing a phenomenon, what is called as population explosion. Population explosion refers to a situation when the birth rate is rising and death rate is falling, leading to a tremendous rise in the population of the country. India’s population is nearly 17.5% of the total world population as per 2014 records and is expected to rise in future, surpassing China by 2025. This situation persists at a time where other economies have already reached a stage of falling birth and death rates!

But a serious question struck our minds often. Is population growth good for an economy? This is an ongoing debate with different economists having different opinions on this.

Many are of the view that population growth is a major hindrance to the economic development of the country. They argue that with increasing population, the problem of feeding them becomes a grave issue. Our country possesses only a fixed amount of land and population growth puts in a lot of pressure on the same piece of land for food and housing. Besides, population comes along with other issues like poverty, unemployment, falling standards of living and many more. All this leads to falling economic growth and development of the country.

But now let’s try and understand the other point of view as well. First of all, human resource is an asset to an economy, not a liability. India’s major strength lies in its skilled and efficient workforce which attracts many firms to invest and set up their operations in India. Secondly, India is one the largest consumer markets in the world.  Thus, Indian population offers a huge demand in the world market. Many countries have reached great levels of development but lack sufficient people in their economy to demand the goods and services produced in their country. India has an advantage in this.

Studies have shown that developed country posses nearly 16% of the population of the developing countries and consume nearly 5 times more than what overpopulated countries consume. Thus, these economies face overconsumption which is another serious problem.

You might say that what about the persistent problems of poverty and unemployment which comes along with this ever-increasing population? Well, that is the quality of the population which every economy, whether developed or developing, needs to work upon. Secondly, regarding the food supplies issue- Studies show that Indian agriculture has the capacity to produce 10 times the current rate if proper technology and facilities are made available to the farmers.  So, our lands have the capacity to feed the population.

At the end, I would like to say that economies must be seen, not on the basis of development, but on the resources present in the economies, the quality of these resources and the government participation in improving its quality.

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