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    Dynamics of population growth: implications for environment and quality of life.

    Panandiker VA

    [Unpublished] 1990. Presented at the Population-Environment Dynamics Symposium, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, October 1-3, 1990. 26 p.

    Basic issues and problems involved in India's population growth, the environment, and the quality of life are identified. India is a populous country (16.5% of the world's population). The nature of the population problem is a growth rate of 2.4%/year. The target for India is to reach NRR-1 by 2000 with a birth rate of 21/1000 and a death rate of 7, which is impossible when in 1990 the birth rate was 31 and the death rate 11/1000. Population growth affects 1) agricultural production, 2) the environment, and 3) the quality of life. Agricultural production increased 333% between 1950 and 1990 while population increased 240%, which reduced the need for imported foodgrains. India's share of the world's arable land is 12% and the share of population is 16%. Yields are low compared with China or Southeast Asia. The Indo-Gangetic Plains have the potential for satisfying carrying capacity. Environmental problems result not just from agricultural practices but also from the patterns of consumption of developed countries and domestic development policies. The 1990 development plan supplies a hopeful approach toward development which promotes ecological balance and conservation and regeneration of natural resources. However, increased agricultural production means intensive use of fertilizers, pesticides, and soil degradation which impact on the environment, as evidenced in the Punjab and Haryana. Currently estimates of damaged or unusable land amount to 60% of available agricultural land. Loss from flooding affects 795 million people. Water logging and salinity are also affected by agricultural development due to inadequate drainage. The implications of population growth on the environment are dwarfed by the pressing political problems of food and employment. Environmental pressure groups are forming. Poverty is a serious problem particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with >50% of the population below the poverty line. Population pressure strains resources such as education where planned growth still would leave 30% illiterate by the year 2000, and the costs would take a large share of the national budget. Availability of water, health care, housing, and clothing pose similar problems. The concern is whether upheaval will accompany the changes and whether poverty and other problems can be resolved satisfactorily.
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