This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Over-consumption or Over-population: Which is the Bigger Evil?

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Tejaswini Pagadala:

With the population increasing rapidly in the world, one must be aware of the dangers associated with it. Some say “the more the human resources the more is the productivity”. But this notion doesn’t seem to work in today’s world. As the population increases, the demand for resources also eventually increases, which in turn increases the dependency of humans on various resources.

Overpopulation is not a myth. Steps should be taken to control population. With an aim of controlling population, intra-uterine devices (IUD), Norplant (Sub-dermal contraceptive), condoms and birth control pills for women is adopted. Permanent methods include vasectomy for men and tubectomy for women.

The population in India is expected to reach almost 2 billion by 2040 (an increase of 500 million in 50 years)

Before commenting on birth control methods, one needs to look at the causes of overpopulation. If a developing country like India, there are many factors which should be considered in order to study the population growth which has increased manifold in the past few decades.

The factors which directly or indirectly affect the population are:
1. Women and child health
2. Poverty and hunger
3. Environmental sustainability
4. Education
5. HIV and other diseases

Now, consider women and child health. Apart from looking at schemes like ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) which includes providing supplementary nutrition to mothers and children, vaccinations, mother’s meetings, pre and post-natal care and pre-school for children below six, infant mortality rate (IMR), maternal mortality rate (MMR), child marriages, female infanticide, foeticide, human trafficking and sex work also affect population.

According to a report by International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), India ranks 11th in top 20 “hot spot” countries for child marriages in the world with 50 percent of girls less than 18 being married. The present IMR in India is 52 deaths per 1000 live births and MMR is 230 according to WHO statistics. Human trafficking and abduction top the list of crimes committed in the country. According to Child Rights Trust, 50 percent of women between 15 to 49 years of age suffer from anemia in India.

Poverty and hunger have been major problems in India. The gap between the poor and the rich is increasing day by day when it should happen the other way round. According to WHO report, 43.5 percent of children under five are underweight. And, farmers who produce crops go hungrier and poorer day by day.

Environmental sustainability is a major challenge globally. But, in India, with many burgeoning industries trying to establish their base in our country, environmental damage has been happening. In places like Singur, Nandigram, Kalinga Nagar, etc. people have been promised rehabilitation and have been displaced from their lands which has converted them into ecological refugees from ecosystem people. Proper water and sanitation facilities are accessible only to a handful of people in our country.

Though Right to Education (RTE) Act is brought into force, many children lack access to good education from the very basic level.

India tops the list in the world with highest number of HIV cases in the world. In fact, many diseases are caused because of sanitation, poverty and lack of proper health care systems.

Though India had a policy of hum do humare do in the 1970’s, it was largely criticized because of sterilization techniques which were proved fatal to many in the country.

In the film Something Like A War, doctor speaks about the three lakh operations he did in 13 years. He makes it appear as if it is something very normal, but with hindsight, those operations did not benefit many women as they had side effects and had to suffer from many other diseases. Especially diseases related to hormonal imbalance in women.

As India and China are compared to each other in terms of population or development, when we consider population, India’s population is said to exceed that of China’s. But in terms of development, India is far behind, violating basic human rights like right to water, food and proper sanitation. But China has managed to tackle these problems with proper planning and implementation of programs. Also China’s research and development sector has 4000 people working under a single project in the sector while India has hardly 40 people working under one project in this sector. This is not to condone China’s repressive and cruel one-child policy.

In terms of technology, sustainability and economic development, China is far ahead of India. What one has to look at is not China or India’s technological advancement, but development with inclusive growth.

According to Ramachandra Guha, development means “economic efficiency, social inclusion and environmental sustainability”. Another definition he quoted was, “Minimization of suffering and maximization of welfare”.

But this concept of development can be followed through proper implementation of programs/ schemes on birth control, educating people about family planning. In the process, many uneducated people who are unaware of safe birth control methods take to sterilization processes, contraceptive pills which adversely affect their health worsening their condition.

Though fertility rate has dropped in the past decade, the existing population has to be aware of family planning and birth control methods in order to spread the word to the coming generations. Also, the existent population should use the available finite resources very carefully in order to survive on this planet.

For Example: A woman in rural Ethiopia can have ten children and, in the unlikely event that those ten children all live to adulthood and have ten children of their own, the entire clan of more than a hundred will still be emitting less carbon dioxide than you or me.
(Source: )

Like Fred Pearce says “The truth is that the population bomb is being defused round the world. But the consumption bomb is still primed and ever more dangerous. It is over-consumption related to over-population that matters”.

Image courtesy:

You must be to comment.
  1. Lets Clean India

    India could well become no 1. country as far as population is considered, as China has taken measures to curb its population.The resources are limited, above that reservation corruption and scams , what would next generation get from us…

  2. GrowthBusters

    Thanks for an articulate and intelligent examination of the issues. Whenever I see the question debated – should we focus on reining in population growth or should we just reduce our consumption, I envision us in a car speeding toward a cliff. And we are debating whether we should lift our foot off the accelerator or step on the brake. Based on the evidence, it would be wise to do both, and do so in a hurry!

    Dave Gardner
    Producing the documentary
    GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Mahika Shergill

By Priyanka Meena

By Ritwik Trivedi

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below