July 11 marks World Population Day. The day seeks to focus attention on the global population issues such as the significance of family planning, gender equality, human rights, and maternal health. The day was established in 1989 by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme. ‘World Population Day’ was inspired by the ‘Five Billion Day’ celebrated on July 11, 1987, the day when the world’s population reached the exact count of five billion. The year 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. The landmark conference was held in the presence of 179 government where they recognised that health and gender equality are important for achieving sustainable development. In 2019, the World Population Day calls for global attention to the unfinished business of the conference.
Talking about India, the population of 1.35 billion is stressing its existing resources. The population is increasing every single minute. We need to address the issue of overpopulation or soon it will deplete the resources. Speaking on the issue, a number of politicians and popular personalities in India have made us cringe, thanks to their oratory skills, while trying to convey the solution on overpopulation.
On World Population Day, here’s a look at some of the cringe-worthy statements by Indian politicians and popular personalities on the growing population.
Ghulam Nabi Azad
In 2009, Former Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said electricity in villages will curb population. He explained his solution by saying if electricity is provided in Indian villages, couples can spend time watching television instead of procreating and increasing the population. According to DNA, he was quoted saying, “In olden days people had no other entertainment but sex, which is why they produced so many children. Today, TV is the biggest source of entertainment. Hence, it is important that there is electricity in every village so that people watch TV till late in the night. By the time the serials are over, they’ll be too tired to have sex and will fall asleep. Then they won’t get a chance to reproduce. When there is no electricity, there is nothing else to do but produce babies.” The irony is that he was addressing an event on World Population Day. He further said, “Don’t think I am saying this in a lighter vein. I am serious. When the light will reach (villages), 80 percent of population growth can be reduced through TV,” adding that the government is working to ensure greater rural electrification.
In 2013, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was quoted saying that due to the increasing population there is a rise in the number of rape cases. Mamata was quoted saying, “You say rape incidents are on the rise. But the population is also swelling. Is the population in the state the same as it was during the tenure of (the state’s second chief minister) BC Roy?” She further added, “There are more cars now. Shopping malls are increasing. Young boys and girls are becoming more modern.”
The latest to add to the list is Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev. To curb overpopulation he suggested that the authorities should take away voting rights and jobs of people who have more than two children. While speaking to ANI on January 23, 2019, he said, “To control the population of the country, voting rights, jobs and treatment facilities should be taken away from people who give birth to more than two kids, whether they are Hindus or Muslims. Then only the population will be controlled.” Ramdev was speaking in Aligarh. He also said that the government must also take steps to take away treatment facilities from such people, irrespective of their religion.