(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 & Policies

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 go.
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 consist:
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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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