In his theory of population, Malthus stressed the need of keeping population within limits to the point he called Optimum.
At this point in time, India has a population of about 1.27 billion people, and it supports upto 17% of the entire world’s population. Of these 1.27 billion people, 50% are below the age of 25, and 65% are below the age of 35. This means that the major part on India’s population are students and young workers. There are more workers than dependents, which is good for any economy. However, it is important to remember that while at this point in time, India’s vast population is a liability, it has the capacity to become an asset.
How is India’s population a liability? 1] Limited resources – In the recent years, India has been witnessing acute food shortages that has pushed up the prices of commodities like wheat, sugar, rice, pulses, making it difficult for people to get the basic necessities. As the population is growing fast, the same amount of food produced for years is no longer sufficient. This results in shortage of supply and prices increase.
When a few areas are urbanised, all industries, plants and other institutions concentrate in these areas. The whole rural-urban migration trend depicts the same picture, where people from small cities and villages move to big industrial areas for work, business and studies often leaving fewer people taking care of farming and the underdeveloped areas. The major problem of resource scarcity is over-concentration of population in few areas; whereas resources may remain available in regions where there is shortage of people.
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How is India’s population an asset? 1] Labour – There are instances where lesser number of inhabitants is a dilemma. Countries like Canada, Australia and Libya are the examples where smaller population is a handicap. Many developing countries face scarcity of labour, both of skilled and unskilled manpower. India, however, does not have this problem. We have many young and skilled labourers. There are many examples where big population is considered a desirable phenomenon for developing nations. For big manufacturing firms all over the globe, deficiency of cheap labour is one of the major issues. If a country has more labour force it can be availed by initiating different vocational training programmes. This will not only make these peopled skilled and productive but will also help them earn a good standard of living.
For example, China has trained its manpower by efficiently utilising it and made it available for business firms as cheap and productive labour force. The giant multinationals have their plants and manufacturing industries in China. India is another major example; big foreign companies have their call centres operating in India just because India has large, cheap and skilled labour force.