Tuesday, 24 December 2019

The Case for One Child Policy in India

It is high time for all governments - state and center, to consider implementing one child policy. Patriotism does not mean hoisting flags and singing national anthem - all citizens need to show their commitment by participating in nation building.

The idea here is to not blame any one section or political party or anyone else. As a nation, we have inherited a number of problems - population explosion is at the center - and it requires a collective and sustained effort to solve these problems.

1. Quality of living: When there is a large population and scramble for resources the quality of living goes for a toss. In terms of UN Human Development Index, we are faring very bad and the signs of improvement are limited. Unless, we address population explosion it is next to impossible to provide a good quality of life for all citizens.

2. Mismatch between jobs creation and requirements: While the number of graduates aspiring for jobs is increasing every year the number of jobs created is no where near the requirement - that is both public and private sector combined. India cannot be a South East Asian miracle economy based on manufacturing export driven growth. (that time is already gone!) Instead, we need to aim at 25 to 30% of GDP contribution from manufacturing. Investment in research and technology needs to give birth to newer industries and sectors.

3. Onus on automation and cost cutting: Private sector operates for profit and the onus in the coming decades is going to be on automation and cost cutting across sectors (manufacturing and services). All businesses go through cycles and once they get used to working on lean structures, there is no need to increase the size of their human capital. Therefore, even if private capital expenditure increases the number of jobs created may not meet the requirements of the huge population.

4. Insufficient and incomplete subsidies: All governments boast of providing subsidies and cash transfers to the depleted sections but someone needs to check for sufficiency. Is your rupees 3000 odd cash transfer sufficient for a family to sustain for a month ? What is the standard of living of these people working on low or negligible incomes ? How much income is required for a family to lead a life of reasonable quality and standards ?

5. World's population may flatten out but not India's: Even if the world population stabilizes, at this rate India is going to be the most populous country in the world in one or two decades.

6. Encourage adoptions: One third world's malnourished children are in India - so why not have a strong adoption law and encourage adoptions.

We need some tough and unpopular measures if we have to fulfil our dream of being an advanced economy.

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