(IGP) Special Current Affairs Material for IAS (Pre) 2013 – Topic: “Population (Part -2)”

(IGP) Special Current Affairs Material for IAS (Pre) 2013

Chapter: Government Plans Programme &

Topic: Population (Part -2)

Population & Issues:

Population is interchangeably viewed as resource or a problem
depending on the context. Increasing population is concern for developing&
underdeveloped nations whereas some advanced nations are battling issues of
aging population and population decline. India currently at stage three of
demographic transition(low mortality & fertility but high births because of
large number of people in reproductive age group due to high fertility of
previous generations, with huge population size is being increasingly reckoned
as an emerging power in the world on the count of its population size, its
favourable structure & robust economy. However, it also requires tackling issues
stemming from a burgeoning population. Experience around the world indicates
that towards the end of demographic transition (i.e. stage four) countries
achieve stable population with high social & economic development. However
during the phase of expansion, in a country with high population density like
India, malthusian concerns of increasing the means of subsistence with an
adequate pace to match the geometric population increase remains valid. Figure
produced below attempts to compare the decadal growth of population, GDP at
factor cost at constant prices and food grain production since 1950-51.

On the economic front, GDP(FC) has grown annual by more than
10.2 per cent during 2001-10, increasing the per capita NNP twofold. During the
same period annual exponential growth rate of food production comes out to be
1.15 per cent, still a shade lower than the population growth rate during
2001-11.However, if the targeted improvement in foodgrain production of 8.5% as
envisaged in the Union Budget document 2011-12, is actually achieved for the two
successive years of 2010-11 and 2011-12, the average annual growth rate in
foodgrain production for 2001-12 would touch about 1.5 per cent, making it
somewhat similar to growth in population during this period. However, a
comparison among the ten most populous countries in the world, in terms of both
Human Development Index and per capita GDP in PPP$ shows India has a long way to
Population growth since 1950-51, as captured by the Census shows an increasing
trend of urbanization whereby the pressure on larger cities has increased
considerably resulting in emergence of slums & other civic infrastructure
related issues. The graph below summarizes the changing pattern of population
distribution wherein share of urban areas has doubled & that of medium sized
villages or below, has decreased from about 80 percent to about 50 per cent. For
the first time since independence, absolute increase in population is more in
urban areas.

Definition of Urban(Census 2011): All statutory places with a
municipality, corporation, cantonment board or notified town area committee. A
place satisfying the following the three criteria simultaneously : a minimum
population of 5,000; at least 75 per cent of male working population engaged in
non-agricultural pursuits; and a density of population of atleast 400 per sq.
km. source Census, 2011.

The above Contents are the part of our on going
programme of Special Current Affairs Material for IAS (Pre) 2013. Which

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Current Affairs Material for IAS (Pre.) 2013 Please

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Sources of Demographic Data & their limitations:

The Indian Population Census is the most credible source of
information on Demography (Population characterstics), Economic Activity,
Literacy and Education, Housing & Household Amenities, Urbanisation, Fertility
and Mortality, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Language, Religion,
Migration, Disability and many other socio cultural and demographic data since
1872. The decennial exercise is carried out by Office of Registrar General of
India, Ministry of Home Affairs and fifteenth Census was conducted by it in
2011.Indian census is the principal source of the data on population size and
structure and also provides some estimates of fertility and mortality
indirectly. The census data also have the advantage of disaggregation to the
level of small regional units. However, since the census data refer to time
points spaced by ten years, the period is too long for fast growing economy like
India undergoing rapid urbanization and migration. The Census enumeration
suffers from both coverage and content errors and post enumeration surveys
provide estimates of these. However, Coverage error has been quite small and is
generally below 2 percent.

Ideally, civil registration should yield estimates of birth
and death rates(System of Civil Registration, CRS and the registration of vital
events -births and deaths is compulsory by law) but as the system has not been
functioning satisfactorily in India, the Sample Registration System, SRS(a
system of dual recording involving continuous registration by a local registrar
and half yearly survey by a supervisor, in a sample of locations since 1969-70)
has served the purpose so far. The estimates of SRS are published in a
reasonably short time, normally in about a year after the end of the reference
year. But it produces estimates only at the state level and disaggregation to
lower levels is not possible. Both Civil Registration System and Sample
Registration System are being monitored by O/o Registrar General of India.

Various surveys, especially the National Family Health
Survey, NFHS (Ministry of Health & Family Welfare gets this survey conducted
through the nodal agency International Institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai)
also give valuable data on fertility and child mortality but again face the same
constraint since the design and the sample size of these surveys, like the SRS,
do not permit estimation of indicators at the district level. Many states in
India are larger than most countries of the world, with populations exceeding
ten million, and are known to exhibit heterogeneity in physical, economic, and
social dimensions. Failure to have indicators for diverse regions within states
is a major handicap in carrying out demographic analysis and making forecasts
and there seems to be no alternative to strengthening the civil registration
system to ensure that all vital events, the registration of which is mandatory
by law, are captured. In fact, the SRS was initially designed as a short-term
measure, until the coverage of the civil registration system becomes universal,
but this interim scheme has continued for over forty years. Newly introduced
Annual Health Survey (Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has entrusted the
responsibility of this survey to the O/o the Registrar General of India in view
of their expertise in handling SRS) has a large enough sample size to obtain
district level estimates, but this survey covers barely half the country. The
National Population Register which could ultimately provide the information on
population closest to treat time basis is also being worked upon by O/o
Registrar General of India and may soon be completed.

Some special surveys focus on migration and the 64th round of
the National Sample Survey Office, NSSO carried out during 2007-08 also covered
migration (India, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, 2010).
These are quite useful to capture factors underlying migration, to assessing the
impact of migration on migrants, on place of origin, to study aspects of
remittances, but are not suited for estimating the volume of migration. The new
National Population Register would, if the updating of the register can be
ensured, be able to give data on migration on a continuous basis.

The other potential sources, sample surveys and
administrative statistics besides population Census are not commonly used to
estimate population size. Surveys also give age-sex structures; however, as the
changes in the structure over a short time interval are small, sample surveys
are not suited to detect these. Administrative statistics such as numbers of
houses, ration cards (cards issued to households to enable purchase of essential
items from specified outlets), and lists of voters, are available. However, in
the absence of any idea on the completeness, these are not safe to be used 2.23
At the moment, therefore, the census, the Sample Registration System, and the
periodic demographic surveys remain the principal sources, with their known
limitations, to study demographic transition in India.

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