Overpopulation in China and India

With the growth and development of all powerful countries comes an increase of population. India and China, both rapidly growing countries of power, serve as fine examples of this. Both of the countries inhabit over one billion people, something that no other countries in the world can say about themselves (Rosenburg China). While these two nations have improved industrially and economically, their populations have grown drastically as well.

To stifle over-population, both countries responded by establishing rules and regulations such as China’s One-Child Policy and India’s National Population Policy. Some of the policies created by China and India have shown to be very effective in repressing the growth of the population while others barely make a difference. Differing ideas and approaches to enforcement have produced different effects which, ultimately, help people know whose policy is more effective. China’s One-Child Policy has proven to be more successful than India’s policies because the when the policy’s enactment, paired with strict enforcement, brought about beneficial effects.

When India gained its independence from England in 1947, their economy began to improve and the country started to establish their authority in the world. In addition, their population started to grow at a more rapid pace. India had old traditions embedded in their culture. Traditions like child marriage, early pregnancy and having many children lead to uncontrolled increase in population. In 1952, when the government finally saw how scarce their resources had become, the National Population Policy became the first official step towards control over population growth (“India Population and”). It sought to address the need for contraception, healthcare infrastructure and to provide basic reproductive and child health care to its people. However, India was not rigid in implementing its policies.

They took a milder approach in controlling the population by integrating family planning with general health care. The policies helped spread the word of the importance of having less children but it did not help reduce birth rates. In response to further reduce birth rates, more programs and policies were enacted. By 1975, population control became a regularly taught subject in school curriculums. Also, financial rewards were given to couples who refrained from having children for two years. Despite these attempts, none made a huge impact on the country’s increasing population.

The government was able to inform couples the importance of having fewer children which caused a minor drop in birth rates, but not a significant one. The policy could be effective; because the policy was lenient and unforced, citizens would be more open to following it. At the same time, though, the flexibility will cause people to not take the policy seriously, resulting in no decrease in birth rates. Like India, China also faced a decreasing amount of resources with the rapidly increasing population. In 1956, China took action to suppress a rapidly growing population with the use of propaganda. They soon realized that it made very little impact

. After many attempts and failures, the government enacted the One-Child Policy law in 1979 (Worden). This law stated that each family could only have one child except those with special circumstances (Worden). The program was a “sophisticated system which rewarded those who observed the policy and penalized those who did not” (Worden). If a family did not follow the One-Child Policy, they could receive a high fine, some amounting “…up to six times a couple's annual income” (Haworth). Forced abortions and sterilization was common in women who did not obey the law (“China steps”).

Those who adopted the law received special benefits. If a family agreed to have only one child, they received $72, a fortune for the Chinese people, after they turned 60 (“China Rewards”). China, as a result of their strife, has prevented around 400 million babies from being born, a successful feat for the overpopulated country (Ertelt). China has seen healthy economical growth which might not have happened if the population had been unproportionally larger. Thanks to the policy, other negative effects of overpopulation were thwarted and did not create a major impact to the society. Even with these benefits, there remain downfalls. A new dilemma has arisen named the 4-2-1 problem, which states that since a daughter or son in a family will be an only child, that one child must care for their two parents and their four grandparents when they are too old (Hesketh). Also, an even graver situation looms over China.

Because the Chinese prefer boy children, the One-Child Policy means some couples may only get a female child. The government allows couples to have a second child if their first is a girl, but there are no third tries, even if the second is a girl as well (Worden). Many families, upset with their female child, have resorted to condemning their newborns to orphanages, abandoning them or even killing them. Because of the persecution of the female children, there are a smaller percentage of female children to male children (Fitzpatrick).

The One-Child Policy’s strictness has been very beneficial to China in that it has prevented millions of births from occurring and helped in the country’s fight against pollution. However, the stern enforcement and punishment has led to couples abandoning and killing their babies and possible dilemmas for the future generations. In comparison, China’s policy is clearly more effective than India in controlling their population.

While India’s policy is mild, modest and not enforced, China’s policy is strict and rigid. India’s policies make the citizens less likely to oppose the idea, but that same reason causes them to not think much of the rule, resulting in no birth rate decline. China, on the other hand, treats their policy much like a law. This makes the policy much more difficult to bypass. The rule may have brought upon some dilemmas, but even so, it has resulted in positive effects. Because of diligent enforcement, China’s One-Child Policy has been more effective than India’s policies. It is projected that in 2030, India will surpass China’s population.

The projected population in India is 1.53 billion and 1.45 billion in China, which will be the country’s climax population. It is important to note however, that despite the efforts of both countries, China is still seeing a continued increase in birth rates but at a less rapid pace compared to India. Even as both countries’ populations climb, they continue to look for new ways to control the birth rates in the fight against overpopulation.

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