Excerptfrom “Simple Alternate Development Strategy” 1997
“Land and Density of Population
While in population India is the second largest, according to FAO statistics, in total area of land it is only the 7th largest… …However….. in 1991’…..India had 77% more ARABLE LAND than China, the most populous country…..It is seen from the above table that while density per hectare of arable land in India at 5.27 is higher than the world averge of 3.99 by about 32%, it is less than the Asian average of 7.51 by about 30%. Compared to more populous China,whose density is 12.39 per ha of arable land India’s density is just 32% of China.. In less poulated countries of Egypt Bangladesh,, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia Pakistan, former West Germany, UK, Italy and Netherlands, density per ha of arable land is higher than in India.Thus it is apparent that India’s density per ha of arable land is not at all high and hence reduction in population growth should not be a high priority issue for the planners at the moment. The high priority concern should be to provide employment to all able bodied ersons… However, as the land available for cultivation is limited, at some stage or the other the populaton growth has to be curtailed-if the growth continues at the present rate.But that stage will come not in 5 years or 10 years but in 50 years or 100 years i.e. when the population doubles/trebles but then, it is possible that new methods would have been evolved to increase the yield of foodgrains by 100% oe 200% or even higher…
As of now it is clear from the foregoing that India is not over populated …..If China with 93 mllion ha of arable land can feed 1.15 billion people, India with an arable land of 165 million ha should be able to feed 2.00 billion people, but the present population is less than one billion.
India should not treat the population as a liability. It is an asset which should be fully utilized. The casualness with which the authorities treat deaths due to disasters like floods, diseases, accidents can ultimately be traced to the attitude that lives of human beings are not very important……”
Though the figures have changed since 1991, the conclusion that India is not overpopulated remains correct. In fact it is supported by omythe fact that almost every sector of the economy faces shortage of labour. Of course, this is not due only to expansion of the economy but also to the fact that a sizable section of the population manage to live with working for 5-10 days a month with the free things they are getting from govenment.