Population Control in India: Progress and Prospects

S. N. Agarwala
1960 Law & Contemporary Problems  
Among the countries, India ranks second in population and seventh in land area. It has fifteen per cent of the population and 2.2 per cent of the area of the world. Its population in 1951 was 3 5 7,ooo,ooo--about ninety per cent of that of Europe excluding the Soviet Union, and sixty per cent of that of China. The density of its population, 312 persons per square mile, is forty per cent higher than that of Europe excluding the Soviet Union, and 250 per cent higher than that of China. Its land
more » ... ea, however, is only two-thirds that of Europe excluding the Soviet Union. At the time of the 189i census, India's population was 236,0o0,000. Thirty years later-that is, in i92i-its population had increased by 12,000,0oo. During the next thirty years, from 1921 to 195 i , however, India's population increased by io9ooo,ooonine times as much. It is clear from table one that before 1921, one decade of rapid population growth was followed by another decade of slow growth, and, at times, even by negative growth. This was primarily owing to frequent epidemics and famines. For example, it is estimated that India lost more than 6o,ooo,ooo people at the time of the influenza epidemic of 1918; and during the period 1898-i98, approximately half a million deaths were annually caused by plague. But since 192i, India has been relatively free from the ravages of epidemics and famines, and as is indicated in table two, the consequent decline in the death rate, rather than any increase in the birth rate, has resulted in a faster rate of population growth than before. It is generally accepted that the current rate of population growth in India is nearly two per cent per annum This high rate of population growth is unprecedented in India's history. It is not extraordinary, however, since the population growth rate currently prevailing in most of the Southeast Asian countries is also about the same. There are even some countries-e.g.,
doi:10.2307/1190756 fatcat:m7ltml2dmfcqpleba4kdbkpmmy