Memoranda for Submission to the Chief Ministers of the Two Telugu States.


National Population Policy


Dt:  22/6/21


National Population Policy


-Dr T.H.Chowdary*


It is fashionable among some politicians and even columnists to  gloat over demographic dividend that India has in having a huge  young  population below age 25 and so  we can become a several trillion dollar economy and great power like the USA and China.  The real issue is  whether these hundreds of  millions of young people are so many mouths  to be fed, clothed, housed, educated,  employed and health- cared to create wealth for the country or just counted as voters  to be wooed by contending   political parties espousing and promising numerous welfare  programs  by distribution  of precious tax and  debt monies so that people are fed to breed ever more poor voters. The problem of population and  a country’s economic wellbeing was addressed   as long ago as in the  18th century  by  Thomas Robert Malthus ( b. 1766, d.1834) . He  published in 1798 the famous ,  An Essay on the Principle of Population” wherein  he analyzed population growth related to the  economy.  His essay raised considerable  interest in Europe among  economists  and politicians . The only country in current times which took notice  of Malthus essay in earnestness is the  Peoples Republic of China.  Malthus argued that  people multiply fast when  their food  needs are taken care of  and that  since there is a  limit on the  capacity  of earth to yield  sufficient food grains,  a continuous growth of  population  without limit cannot be sustained. By political programs, the poor  can be maintained in  painless poverty . But that requires huge expenditure of the  nation’s finances. For eg: in our country,  more than 80 cr   people  are  helped to sustain  life through  near- free supply of food grains and related items through Public Distribution System (PDS). They are  also  helped  to get money through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA)  according to which  the poor  are paid some


minimum wages for a number of days in a year to  mitigate their  poverty. The work that they do  is not to create any permanent  asserts,  not even for the maintenance of the assets but  just  to get them wages  for some little work they have done . India  hopes to become a 5 trln dollar economy in the near future but by that time, the population  might exceed 1400 mlns, overtaking  even  China’s.  The per capita income (PCI) may not see any worth while increase in terms of purchasing  capacity. 

2. There has been furious  growth  of  population in the world  as well as in India mostly arising out of  food security . (see tables  below)

World’s Population and the Poor



% of the  Poor


1.1 bln



5 bln



6 bln



7.0 bln



India’s Population Growth









Pop (mln)








Decadal growth (%)








Decadal increase (mln)









·         The Muslim population of India in 1951 was  9.8%. Today it is  between 16 -20%, the latter figure if the infiltrators from Bangladesh and  Rohingyas of Myanmar are included

·         The SC proportion in India has increased from 15 -22% and that of  STs  from 7.5% to 12%.

·         Political parties  are competing for  their vote by appeasement  and also by  providing kanukalu that is,  gifts like pasupu kumkamulu by Chandra Babu Naidu Bathukamma cheeralu  by Sri K Chandrasekhara Rao and so on.


3. In India the  population growth is not  among the well- to- do but  among the ill to do.  The population of the poor  ( SCs, STs, Muslims and some other sections ) has   furiously increased  while   the  proportion of  the so called forward castes   has  dwindled to about 10-12%.  The calories of intake per person per day  to keep him in good health is about 2500. We have not yet reached that figure in India.  While countries like South Korea and Malaysia and Indonesia which got  freedom and self-rule later than India have literacy of  over 90%  in India it is about  65% (up from below 20% in 1947) . Since the  1980s  we had become  self-sufficient in food grains and related  products . We have been adding 15-18 mln people  per year. Never we have  created that many jobs in any year. For long, we talked about uneducated, unemployed persons. Then we had educated, un-skilled  and unemployed persons. After that, we skilled the  educated and now we are having educated, skilled, unemployed persons. From a development state, our governments have  “progressed” towards welfare states and now to charity states where besides little tax revenues huge borrowed  amounts are spent   for welfare of the poor -food security, employment  guarantee, free housing, distribution of state monies  as marriage   gifts and festival entertainment and  many  free services like free travel   for women  in  city busses and  trains …. ( 700 items are decided  to be given free by the  DMK party in Madras State and  these are being progressively implemented). Governments are taking loans  to be  repaid after 30 years  by which time the present  Chief Minister nor  his  son (the prospective Chief Minister) would be   alive, leaving the debt burden to the next generations.

·         When Sri  Chandra Bab Naidu was the Chief Minister of undivided AP (1995-2004) , I submitted to him three manthras

·         One, Two, Three  if you have  one child, government will take care;  if you have  two children,  you will take  care; if you have three- children  god only may  take care

·         Feed and Breed must stop. That  is, government  distributing charity  to the poor and they   producing many  children must stop.

·         Learn and Earn: Everyone should go to school and make  himself fit to earn money by the sweat of his labour

Sri Chandra Babu Naidu   popularized these ideas and by 2004  the growth rate of population in AP came down from 2.8% to 1.8%. 


4. The country  which  obviously has benefited from the  Malthus Essay  is China. In the late -1970s itself, after Mao Tse Tung’s  death under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping the country adopted the one-child norm. Until 1992 the  per capita income (PCI) in China was less than that in India and its economic  prosperity and its industrial might was also inferior to that of India. But  the one- child norm  enabled the country  to increase its wealth enormously to become a super power and  the second largest economy of  $ 15 trln in the world.  In order to sustain  this power and  prosperity, in the year 2006 China decided that each family should  have  two  children . And in the year 2021 it has decided with the objective  of  surpassing the US  in annual GDP, it is wanting its families to have three children. It is clear that  China is  having a National Population Policy which  is changing  to be  in tune with  its economic prosperity and  continuous growth  so that  China  would be  on top of the world.

5. Unfortunately, India  has not had a national policy just like  our National Education Policy (NEP) and National Telecom Policy (NTP) and  for other  sectors like energy etc.  During the Indira Gandhi’s Emergency rule 1975-77, her young son,  Sanjay Gandhi   was alarmed  by  this population growth, especially among  those who can’t afford large families and  therefore are doomed to perpetual poverty.  He  took to coercive measures to sterilize men . It spelt doom for Indira Gandhi’s Congress party in   the year 1977 post – Emergency elections .  Since then, no politician or  political party or even any  intellectual is  daring to talk of  population  growth publicly but in private many express horror at  growth of the   population among welfare consuming sections of our people.  While Chia could  implement whatever  policy it adopted because it is  a dictatorship and not a multi- party democracy like ours, with periodic elections, it is difficult to make any law to force families to have only one or two children.  In fact, Maulana Badruddin Ajmal  of All India United Democratic  Front, a Muslim party in Assam  has   proudly and challengingly declared that no law in India  can enforce a limit on the number of children  that a Muslim  family can have. Maybe,  leaders of  other sections  of beneficiaries of  state  charity  may not agree to make any law .

6.  The way forward: The only way is to have disincentives  against  large families. These could be:

·          Every measure of welfare whether preferential employment or poverty relief  will be applicable to families having only one child. The moment a second  child comes, these welfare measure will be withdrawn from that family. The state has resources to sustain  only one- child  families and their development.

·         Preferential employment, that is  reservations for admission to educational institutions  and to government offices  will be  only for one- child and that too for one  generation in a family.

·          Parents who  produce a second child  will not be eligible  for any elective post in  panchayat, Mandal or district  or  Zilla Parishad or State Legislature and Parliament of India.


Before enforcing these  disincentives, intellectuals and  patriots, political leaders and parties must  educate the public  on the need for these  drastic measures to control the run -away growth of population  especially among the poor. It is unwise to keep millions of people in painless poverty as we are now doing; if we want to become a prosperous and powerful  nation where every person has  high  income, good education and good health. We must have  national population policies  that are in accordance with our  economy and  our  resolve to grow that  economy and increase every body’s  prosperity and longevity of healthy life. The nation’s population policy may be reviewed and revised ( like NTP-‘94, NTP-‘99; NEP-‘89, NEP-2020…..) in the light of  objective conditions and  nation’s aspirations.

(1569 words) END