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Village electrification can curb population: Azad
Published on 11 Jul. 2009 11:08 PM IST
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Health and family welfare minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday became a votary of rapid electrification of villages in India but for a different reason - to curb population growth by ensuring access to television. “Electricity in our villages can help control population growth. Electricity will lead to television in houses, which will lead to population control. When there is no light, people get engaged in the process of population growth,” he said while addressing a function on World Population Day. “Don’t think that I am saying this in a lighter vein. I am serious. TV will have a great impact. It’s a great medium to tackle the problem,” he added. “When light will reach (villages), 80 percent of population growth can be reduced through TV,” he said, adding that the current United Progressive Alliance (UPA) central government is working to ensure greater rural electrification. He also exhorted media and TV channels to provide quality materials and highlight positive news. The minister said that population growth needs to be controlled as it will have positive impact on “all Indians”. “It is the duty of all MPs, ministries and of all individuals to help in curbing the population growth,” he said adding that India contributes to 17 percent of the global population but the land area of our country is just 2.5 percent of the total land available in the world. “We need to think that more children means more problems,” Azad said. India with over a billion people is second only to China in terms of sheer number of people and experts believe if the current trend of growth continues, then the country may surpass China by 2030. Late marriage Parents wanting their children to settle down quickly may disapprove but Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday asked people to opt for late marriages to curb the exponential growth in population. At a function to commemorate the ‘World Population Day’, where rural couples opting to marry after 18 and planning their families were awarded, Azad said there was no need to felicitate them as they were only abiding by the law. “Only people who opt to marry at 30-31 should be awarded,” he said. However, when questioned by reporters as to whether he wanted the marriageable age to be raised to 30, he replied in the negative saying he had only talked about giving awards. Observing that the fast growing population of India was putting tremendous pressure on the depleting natural resources, he said, “even countries like Australia, United States and the Middle East where people went in search of employment are turning Indians back to secure jobs for their own people”. Azad said information about family planning as well as its importance should be imparted at the grass roots level. Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said apart from the growth in population, female foeticide was the biggest problem facing the country. “Why are laws which are meant to curb these evil practises never implemented,” she asked. Observing that awareness generation was the biggest issue involved, former Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said giving incentives to people opting for good family planning measures was the only option available. Apart from this, strict vigilance and monitoring was also needed, he said. Population to quadruple India’s older population is projected to quadruple by mid-century, while that of the world is expected to triple, the US Census Bureau has said. In its latest report, the Census Bureau said the world’s 65-and-older population is projected to increase from 516 million in 2009 to 1.53 billion in 2050. The older population of the US is projected to double by that time. “Although China and India are the world’s most populous countries, their older populations do not represent large percentages of their total populations today,” the report said. However, these countries do have the largest number of older people, 109 million and 62 million, respectively. Both countries are projected to undergo more rapid ageing, and by 2050, will have about 350 million and 240 million people 65 and older, respectively, the US census Bureau said. From 2009 to 2050, the world’s 85 and older population is projected to increase more than fivefold, from 40 million to 219 million. Because women generally live longer than men, they account for slightly more than half of the older population and represent nearly two-thirds of the 85 and older population.

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