India is set to become the most populous nation by 2025 and face many new challenges, if population continued to grow at the current rate.
These concerns were expressed by Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Ajay Maken today at a ‘National Workshop on Youth for Population Stabilization’, held to mark ‘World Population Day’ at Vigyan Bhawan, where youth were urged to spread the message of population stabilisation.
The workshop, jointly organised by Jansankhya Sthirta Kosh (National Population Stabilization Fund of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) of Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, called for urgent steps to stabilise population in view of the limited available resources within the country.Inaugurating the workshop, Maken said it was estimated that India would have a population of 139 crore by 2025, when it would surpass China too.
The minister, however, said if population growth was a challenge for all of us, it could also be converted into an opportunity as average age in India by 2020 would be one among the lowest.
“Average rate in India would be 29 years by 2020, while that in China 37 years and Japan 48 years”.”This would help young India convert this challenge into an opportunity.”
For achieving this, the minister listed out a five-point agenda for youth which included educating them, providing them health, empowering them with skill development, improving the child sex ratio by empowering women and sustainability in every sphere.
Earlier, member of Planning Commission Syeda Hameed said the Commission was working on funding people involved in population stabilisation.
“We are working on this in the 12th Plan and how we used this demographic dividend was a common challenge for everyone.”
“There is a need to ensure the ‘demographic dividend’ edge of India does not turn into a demographic nightmare,” she cautioned while stating that India has an edge over the rest of the world due to its youthful population.
“The western world is ageing, while India and South-Asia was turning younger,” she said and called for integrating the youth into the development process.
“In the 12th Plan, our entire thrust is to use gender as a cross-cutting theme, cutting across all schemes and programmes. Women should get 50 per cent right in the development of the nation,” she said.
Describing judicious use of scarce national resources as a common challenge for everyone, she said their use must be profligated.
She also urged the youth to help empower and uplift women, saying it would help stabilise population.
Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare K Chandramouli asked volunteers to ensure mass mobilization of public opinion to prevent early marriages to aid population stabilization measures.
Special Secretary and Mission Director, National Rural Health Mission P K Pradhan informed that as part of NRHM special focus has been given on Reproductive and Child Health Programmes to advocate delayed marriages, delayed 1st child birth and spacing between two children.
Executive Director Janasankhya Sthirta Kosh Dharitri Panda informed that apart from today’s sessions in the workshop, JSK has also hired one coach in Impact India Foundation’s train to rural areas to take JSK’s advocacy messages to the grassroots.
Four hundred National Youth Corps volunteers from seven high focus states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Orissa and youth leaders from various other voluntary bodies participated in the workshop.
They also participated in the deliberations on issues related to population and its stabilization factors like – awareness among the productive population about the harmful effects of the early marriage, early child birth, wrong spacing between two child births & promotion of permanent method of contraception or small family norm.