Persons are means as well as ends of economic development. They are an asset if in adequate strength and prove to be a liability if excess in strength.
Population has crossed the optimum limit in India and has become a liability.
So problem of population explosion in India has proved to be a big hindrance in the success of economic planning and development.
Following are the main effects of population explosion:
1. Problem of Investment Requirement:
Indian population is growing at a rate of 1.8 percent per annum. In order to achieve a given rate of increase in per capita income, larger investment is needed. This adversely affects the growth rate of the economy. In India, annual growth rate of population is 1.8 percent and capital output ratio is 4:1. It means that in order to stabilize the existing economic growth rate (4 X 1.8) = 7.2 percent of national income must be invested.
2. Problem of Capital Formation:
Composition of population in India hampers the increase in capital formation. High birth rate and low expectancy of life means large number of dependents in the total population. In India 35 percent of population is composed of persons less than 14 years of age. Most of these people depend on others for subsistence. They are unproductive consumers. The burden of dependents reduces the capacity of the people to save. So the rate of capital formation falls.
3. Effect on per Capita Income:
Large size of population in India and its rapid rate of growth results into low per capita availability of capital. From 1950-51 to 1980-81. India’s national income grew at an average annual rate of 3.6 percent per annum. But per capita income had risen around one percent. It is due the fact that population growth has increased by 2.5 percent.
4. Effect on Food Problem:
Rapid rate of growth of population has been the root cause of food problem.
Shortage of food grains hampers economic development in two ways:
(a) People do not get sufficient quantity of food due low availability of food which affects their health and productivity. Low productivity causes low per capita income and thus poverty.
(b) Shortage of food-grains obliges the under-developed countries to import food grains from abroad. So a large part of foreign exchange is spent on it. So development work suffers. So rise in population causes food problem.
5. Problem of Unemployment:
Large size of population results in large army of labour force. But due to shortage of capital resources it becomes difficult to provide gainful employment to the entire working population. Disguised unemployment in rural areas and open unemployment in urban areas are the normal features of an under developed country like India.
6. Low Standard of Living:
Rapid growth of population accounts for low standard of living in India. Even the bare necessities of life are not available adequately. According to Dr. Chander Shekhar population in India increases by about 1.60 crore. It requires 121 lakh tonnes of food grains, 1.9 lakh metres of cloth and 2.6 lakh houses and 52 lakh additional jobs.
Rising population increases poverty in India. People have to spend a large portion of their resources for bringing up of their wards. It results into less saving and low rate of capital formation. Hence improvement in production technique becomes impossible. It means low productivity of labour.
8. Burden of Unproductive Consumers:
In India, a large number of children are dependent. Old persons above the age of 60 and many more in the age group of 15-59 do not find employment. In 2001, working population was 39.2 percent while 60.8 percent are unproductive workers. This high degree of dependency is due to high rate of dependent children. This dependency adversely affects effective saving.
9. Population and Social Problems:
Population explosion gives rise to a number of social problems. It leads to migration of people from rural areas to the urban areas causing the growth of slum areas. People live in most unhygienic and insanitary conditions.
Unemployment and poverty lead to frustration and anger among the educated youth. This leads to robbery, beggary, prostitution and murder etc. The terrorist activities that we find today in various parts of the country are the reflection of frustration among educated unemployed youth. Overcrowding, traffic congestions, frequent accidents and pollution in big cities are the direct result of over-population.
10. More Pressure on Land:
Rising rate of population growth exerts pressure on land. On the one hand, per capita availability of land goes on diminishing and on the other, the problem of sub-division and fragmentation of holdings goes on increasing. It adversely affects the economic development of the country.
11. Impact on Maternity Welfare:
In India, population explosion is the result of high birth rate. High birth rate reduces health and welfare of women. Frequent pregnancy without having a gap is hazardous to the health of the mother and the child. This leads to high death rate among women in the reproductive age due to early marriage. Hence to improve the welfare and status of women in our society, we have to reduce the birth rate.
12. Pressure on Environment:
Population explosion leads to environmental degradation. Higher birth rate brings more pollution, more toxic wastes and damage to biosphere. Briefly speaking, population explosion hinders the economic development. It should be controlled effectively.