Perils of overpopulation in developing countries


The population problem is never given importance to the extent it should, in recent times. This is because it is now believed that the excess population is an asset when a huge mass of educated and employed youngsters, prove a big backbone to the economy. However, there are huge problems as well. Some of these are discussed in this article.

Introduction

A huge population in countries like India is not a blessing in disguise. It can also be a big curse. Too many people competing for very few jobs is one example of this misery. There are other problems galore. More specifically, such problems can be discussed with specific reference to a) Massive unemployment and underemployment b) Clamor for Government jobs c) Rapid depletion of all natural resources d) Mismatch between Needs and Wants e) Social tensions and problems and f) Recurring nature of all problems.

Massive unemployment and underemployment

It is estimated that around fifty hundred thousand unemployed youth keep roaming the streets of every metro city in India, desperately searching for jobs. Even the underpaid jobs. Many of them get to do the most horrible jobs in very unhygienic conditions. The uneducated and untrained land up in jobs that the locals would not do. For example, since the supply of graduates is so huge in the Southern States, the waiters and the servers and the cleaner boys in all hotels are invariably from the North of India, where there are hundreds of thousands of people without even a matriculation pass qualification and knowledge of no other language except Hindi.

This becomes a very big problem and the unemployment problem becomes even more acute for the educated. The employers take full advantage of the huge mass of educated manpower available in pockets of India. For instance, with close to one thousand engineering colleges, three States, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, produce some seven lakh engineers every year. Out of this, hardly one lakh find the regular and well-paid jobs in the manufacturing and IT sector. The rest, who cannot even write one single paragraph in good English and do not understand the need to equip themselves in this language, end up in Apprenticeship or temporary contract jobs, where they are paid far less for doing almost the same quantity of job as those from the prestigious institutions. However, the latter have it in them. They are far more knowledgeable, have far better exposure and are always taught by faculty members who are doctorates./ The lesser known engineering colleges have seniors who would have passed out even three years earlier, without a single day experience in the Corporate Sector.

All this is due to the excess population. In India, we have excess manpower everywhere. For example, some years ago, it was thought that a library science qualification would fetch any trained person a good job. The Universities also employed the doctorates and post-graduates. When the market became saturated, the huge number of educated unemployed became a big problem. Till today, most of them are underemployed as bank clerks or in Government in clerical positions.

Underemployment takes various forms. For example, the hundreds of thousands of people who shout in favor of the political leaders in huge rallies are all people who are paid a minimum of Rs.300 and free food, apart from being transported like cattle in open lorries from the hundreds of villages. At election time, such people are hired to shout for politicians of various parties!! This is blatant exploitation. In fact, one very corrupt member of a particular political party, whose family had amassed huge illegal wealth during the former Jayalalitha regime, is openly throwing away part of the black money. He talks like a saint but on record, he is the most corrupted person in Tamil Nadu, even today.

Clamor for Government jobs

In India and other developed countries, the clamor is for Government jobs with all perks and security. Even those on contract form unions to protest for regular employment. For example, the mid-day meals scheme is piloted by trained cooks. These women and men have now formed a big trade Union and have protested against the Tamil Nadu Government to regularize their jobs with full Government pay and perks. However, the Government is not keen on doing so.

Corruption to get Sarkari jobs is a horrible thing in India. It is reportedly so in countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan as well. where a huge number of people bribe all the Government officials to get jobs. Corruption, in turn, leads to huge inequalities and this breeds violence of a tall order as well. For example, the crime rate in every single metro is so high. Rapes, murders, thefts, political violence, and what have you can all be attributed to overpopulation. In our country, people can be hired.

However, the corruption to get Government contracts, jobs and what have you goes on in an unlimited fashion adding to the inequalities that already exist.

Rapid depletion of all natural resources

Every single additional child in any family does mean that the natural resource will take a hit at any point in time. The demand for rural housing is very high. There are so many places near the main roads, where up to five cents of land are continuously used to construct houses. In some localities, the entire area, extending up to over seven acres is totally used up for housing. What was hitherto superb cultivable land, has now been taken away for houses. Not only this. The lakes and ponds in such areas and just destroyed and houses are built. There is absolutely no check on retrieving such lakes and the water problem becomes very severe. In Chennai city, the real estate sharks would encroach upon every possible lake and convert the same into houses. Today, after 30 years, every individual house is gone. Even in small areas of just 4800 square foot, one can find up to 24 apartments in two blocks. The apartments are obviously very small, with a maximum living space of just around 700 square foot. Even this costs around sixty hundred thousand rupees in areas like Madipakkam, Nanganallur, etc, that have now become very posh. Yet, most parts of such areas are encroachments on very fertile land that is very shallow. The rainwater drains are totally absent. During the rainy season, if there are heavy rains, like what happened in 2015, entire localities are under water. The residents bear with all the loss and everything is forgotten the moment the rains stop.

Even in a superb State like Kerala, where the population is very much under control, one can see the systematic destruction of abundant nature for housing projects. Even in cities like Thrisur, which is superbly clean, one can find apartments of up to twenty stories or more. All this can be directly attributed to the unstoppable increase in population. Every single politician and the so-called "development economists" count on the so-called service sector growth. But what about the destruction of nature? There is absolutely no stress on balanced development at all. In areas like the semi-urban towns of Tamil Nadu, every single village is affected by rapid urbanization. In this most urbanized State of India, an estimated 60,000 acres have already gone towards houses. What will happen to food security in the years to come? Absolutely no one is even talking about this.

People talk about the contribution of the NRIs. Yes, it is very handsome indeed. However, any development economist has to just go over to an area called Srirangam in the outskirts of Tiruchirapalli, which is the fourth largest city of Tamil Nadu. The entire stretch of all agricultural lands is so complete that entire villages are now gone. Who funds at least part of this? The rich NRIs, mostly based in the UK and USA, who want their own flats and happily place their parents here. Yes, it has all the basic amenities and it is connected to the city center, which is just less than seven kilometers away, by a bus every single minute. The so-called "development" has made this city of Tiruchirapalli, one of the fastest developing cities in the world, alongside some in the USA!!

But at what cost development? No one has an answer. Economic improvement? Yes. But preservation of natural resources? No. Srirangam is right on the banks of the Cauvery river. No wonder, there is no water problem as of now. We do not know what will happen tomorrow. The apartment culture would beat Chennai now.

Mismatch between Needs and Wants

This is a big issue. In a country like India, spiritualism sits very pretty with all development. Yet, we are spiritual only in the heart, to some extent. We forget everything the moment we enter the commercial world. The upwardly mobile middle class has made Domino pizza, KFC and at least twenty of such brands very rich. There is a total mismatch between needs and wants.

When there is such a huge population of the middle class, every single multinational brand wants to enter India, for what they call as " a very big market". For them, it is all money. For the individual, the newfound freedom makes him spend as if there is no tomorrow. This is a total break up of values between those who are now sixty years old, and their children in their twenties and thirties. The spiritually inclined, want a match. But the younger generation wants to ape the rich. The race is on. Beauty parlors are now the symbol of this new phenomenon.

This drift towards want of all kinds makes the younger generation talk about "life goals". Will this mad rush towards absolute stress on such goals, where 16-hour workdays on six days in a week, not run down their health? Of course, it does. With disastrous consequences. All this happens only because of their urge to beat the competition, that is, the fresh guys entering the different professions. What happens to the children, who are their fathers and mothers, when they are just four years old? The rapid erosion of family values of love and affection has resulted in the rapid growth of old age homes everywhere in India. This is a new socio-economic phenomenon. The owners of these outfits are very happy. But talk to the inmates and the story is different. The sociological consequences of "development" is very dangerous indeed.

The root cause is population. No one even wants to discuss this.

Social tensions and problems

Rapes, murders, thefts. kidnapping and every other crime can be attributed to the rapid increase in population. In New Delhi, where hundreds of thousands are holed up in smaller areas, the problem becomes acute. Already, the sociologists are researching why rapes happen so often in New Delhi. One of the reasons is the frustration of youth, who want to show their "power". We talk about "India's demographic dividend". But such a dividend can come to naught if the population is not controlled.

Recurring nature of all problems

Each of the aforesaid problems is never complete at any point in time. The lack of social security of the unorganized is glaring. Slums come up everywhere, every day. There is absolutely no way we are going to solve such problems. The poor are continuously crushed.

Massive resources are wasted on useless projects like statues. No one really understands what will come out of such useless waste of dear tax payer's money. The same problems will continue to haunt us. The social tensions in transportation in the big metros, for example, is never ever going to end. Yes, the Chennai Metro is superb now. But it is priced at Rs.60/-. Only an estimated 80,000 per day, out of a population of over 1.5 crores can afford it. So, is it State Capitalism once again at work? The city has already expanded to over one hundred kilometers on the Southern side and another eighty kilometers on the other three sides. ( on one side we have the Sea). The metro will slowly cover most of the other others. For the rich, Yes, for the rich.

Again and again, we are back to square one. We better arrest our population. If we do not do this, we will end being the losers.

Conclusion

Overpopulation is the root cause of most of our miseries. Only some problems have been discussed above, Problems such as pollution deserve separate articles.

We need to change the narrative and arrest of the growing population of India. Otherwise, thirty years down the line, we would be nowhere.


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