India’s growing population magnifies food and water security worries!
Rashi Aditi Ghosh/Zee Research Group
Creating a grave imbalance to the country’s already skewed food and water situation, Indian population registered a growth of 17.7 per cent in 2011 over the last decade.
According to the Primary Census Abstract 2011, India’s population over the decade has increased from 102.8 crore in 2001 to 121.1 crore in 2011. But, the growth in foodgrains production and water facilities in the country cannot meet the population explosion.
Ironically, during 2001-2011 per capita net availability of food grains (Grams per day) in India only increased by 11.22 per cent. While per capita 416.2 gram food grain was available in 2001, the quantity marginally increased to 462.9 grams in 2011. It obviously suggests inefficient agricultural production and infrastructure in the country. India’s per capita production of food grains is below world average. The average yield of rice in India is 2.3 tonne/ hectare as against the global average of 4.374 tonne/ hectare. (UN`s food and agriculture report)
This crisis is expected to increase in near future as according to World Population Prospects: the 2012 Revision a report by United Nations, India is projected to become the world’s most populous country much earlier than previously estimated, equaling China’s population by 2028 even as the global population is expected to grow to 8.1 billion by 2025 .
Highlighting the lack of inadequate crop related infrastructures in the country and growing scarcity of food in India, National Advisory Council member (NAC) Dr. Naresh C Saxena says, “India would face extreme starvation in the near future as the produced grain is not procured and stored properly due to poor governance and infrastructural facilities.”
Similarly, the access to drinking water source near the premises also registered a fall of 19.19 per cent during the decade. While 44.3 per cent households in 2001 had access to water near their premises, the percentage of households decreased to 35.8 per cent in 2011.
Commenting on the lack of concern for health and hygiene in India, Dr Mohammad Akram from department of Sociology and Social Work, Aligarh Muslim University said, “India severely struggles in providing bare minimum facilities because health and hygiene was never a major concern for the governance. On top of this policy making in India seriously suffers from inadequate participation of social scientists.”
As a matter of fact, when the new report of census (Primary Census Abstract) claims better performance vis-à-vis literacy, overall sex ratio and child sex ratio, India’s major worries pertaining to hunger and undernourishment continue to remain as a cause for concern.
The only factor that brought some relief to the country’s bleeding demographics is increasing availability of houses during the decade. While 52.06 million houses were available in 2001, 78.48 million houses were available in India during 2011.