With almost 1.5 billion inhabitants, India is one of the second most populous countries in the world. In just a few years, it will most likely overtake China, since more than a million people are added every month alone. But what is the reason for the rapid population increase? In order to answer this question, one must take a look at the history of India.
Crowded New Delhi
Buildings, crowds and cars as far as the eye can see. Green spaces like the “Lodi Garden” are a rather rare sight, which is replaced by all the more motorbikes, tuk tuks and buses. As if that weren't enough, nearly 1,500 new cars are added every day, adding to the heavy traffic. No wonder that many residents prefer to take the subway, which can hardly be surpassed in terms of modernity and speed. In terms of space, however, it has to lose because more than two million people stream into the means of transport every day and of course everyone wants to be the first to board. The number of passengers desperately trying to get a seat on the train at the last moment is increasing. The desire for privacy is hardly achievable, because anyone who dares to take the subway should be prepared to endure the breath of other passengers.
Attempt at population reduction
Calculations have shown that India's population will overtake that of China in 10-15 years. Some see the only way to reduce population is to align with China's former one-child policy. Even if there was no such law in India before, the country had to experience a trauma in the last century: In politics, a state of emergency was declared in the 1970s under Indira Gandhi. It was she who wanted to make an apparently meaningful contribution to controlling family planning: forced male sterilization. At that time, several million people lost their fertility, were collected from the streets and urged to be sterilized. Although less drastic measures are taken today, the intention of sterilization has remained the same. Both women and men are lured, for example, with gun licenses and chances of material first prize.
Excessive family planning
A quarter of all Indians do not even have enough food to survive – under such circumstances it is self-explanatory that there is certainly not enough money for contraceptives. Even the free condoms that have been distributed over the years have not been enough either. However, Sona Sharma from the “population foundation” gave another reason for the rapid growth of the population: According to him, many young people live in India, accounting for 70% of the growth. Even if they only had one or two children, the increase would still be far too high.
In developing countries like these, having multiple children is common. On the one hand, due to the poor health system, many families assume that not everyone will survive. On the other hand, they are used to provide for their parents in old age. In addition, raising girls in India is usually very expensive, as it is customary for the bride's parents to finance the wedding. For this reason, many couples only consider their family planning to be complete when they have had at least one or two boys.
The hope of the job
The main reason why the big cities are overcrowded is that people long for a decent job. In the countryside, where many Indians work hard on sugar cane plantations, among other things, they don't earn very much. Many therefore see the only solution in moving to the city with the whole family, where neither the salary nor the living conditions usually improve. In cramped huts with more than a dozen roommates, surrounded by mountains of rubbish and sewage, the last hope for a better quality of life is finally lost. In addition, despite the more central location, it is not possible for everyone to get a good job, let alone a job at all. Many have to make ends meet with their families on just a few euros working 12 hours a day.
Upswing under the new president?
Prime Minister Modi has this to say about the catastrophic situation in India: His greatest goal is to that all residents of India have access to a toilet and adequate housing. As this goal is ambitious, it remains to be seen if and when it will be realized.