Population Bomb


    In News

    • The Earth4All modelling team published their predictions about the world’s human population in the form of a report.


    • The word ‘population bomb’ signifies a grim scenario that warns of perils of overpopulation like mass starvation and environmental deterioration.
    • In the new Earth4All Initiative report, the researchers set aside population-modelling approaches adopted by the U.N., the Wittgenstein Centre, The Lancet, and integrated assessment models.
    • In the Earth4All model, birth rates are explicitly and causally modelled as a function of GDP per person, depicting a negative correlation between income and fertility rate.
    • Earth4All is a vibrant collective of leading economic thinkers, scientists, and advocates, convened by The Club of Rome, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Norwegian Business School.

    Findings of the Report

    The researchers advance two scenarios:

    • The first, called “Too Little, Too Late”, predicts that if economic development continues as it has in the last five decades, the world’s population would peak at 8.6 billion in 2050, roughly 25 years from now, and decline to 7 billion by 2100.
    • In the second scenario, called “The Giant Leap”, the researchers conclude that the population will peak at 8.5 billion by 2040 – a decade sooner than 2050 – but then rapidly decline to around 6 billion by 2100. This will be due to our investments in poverty alleviation, gender equity, education and health, ameliorating inequality, and food and energy security. 
    • These population predictions are more optimistic than the kind of historic fear mongering and regressive development policies engendered by the ‘population bomb’ metaphor. 
    • Population alone was never the problem for sustainability, nor will it be for the climate crisis rather a declining population alone won’t address the issues surrounding the climate crisis.

    Comparison with other Reports

    • The Earth4All report  contradicted the U.N. ‘World Populations Prospects 2022’ report, which predicted that the global population would steadily rise to 10.4 billion in 2080 and then stabilise around that number in 2100.
    • The contradictions between the U.N. report and the Earth4All 2023 report are helpful because they allow us to imagine and address the conditions proposed by different studies. They also inform scholarship, activism, and policies that safeguard women’s health and well-being in all possible scenarios.

    Population Growth and Related issues

    • Large population will require the unflinching focus of policymakers on areas fundamental to human well-being — education, nutrition, healthcare, housing, and employment. 
    • Rapid population growth can make challenges of hunger and poverty steeper. 
    • Rapid population growth makes eradicating poverty, combating hunger and malnutrition, and increasing the coverage of health and education systems more difficult.
    • Will need policies to increase jobs so that labour force participation rate increases for both men and women.

    Indian Scenario

    • As of 2022, more than half the world’s population lives in Asia, China and India being the two most populous countries with more than 1.4 billion people each.
    • According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), while India’s population growth is stablising, it is “still growing at 0.7% per year” and is set to surpass China in 2023 as the world’s most populous country.
    • UNFPA has noted that India has its largest ever adolescent and youth population. 
    • According to UNFPA projections, India will continue to have one of the youngest populations in the world till 2030 and is currently experiencing a demographic window of opportunity, a “youth bulge” that will last till 2025.

    Steps taken by India for Stabilising Population

    • Mission ParivarVikas: For substantially increasing access to contraceptives and family planning services in146 high fertility districts with Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 3 and above in seven high focus states. 
    • Compensation scheme for sterilization acceptors: Under the scheme MoHFW provides compensation for loss of wages to the beneficiary and also to the service provider (& team) for conducting sterilizations.
    • Clinical Outreach Teams (COT) Scheme: The scheme has been launched in 146 Mission Parivar Vikas districts for providing Family planning services through mobile teams from accredited organizations in far-flung, underserved and geographically difficult areas.
    • Scheme for Home delivery of contraceptives by ASHAs at doorstep of beneficiaries. Scheme for ASHAs to Ensure spacing in births.
    • Family Planning Logistic Management and Information System (FP-LMIS): A dedicated software to ensure smooth forecasting, procurement and distribution of family planning commodities across all the levels of health facilities.
    • National Family Planning Indemnity Scheme (NFPIS) under which clients are insured in the eventualities of death, complication and failure following sterilization.
    • Ensuring quality of care in Family Planning services by establishing Quality Assurance Committees in all states and districts.