As India grapples with shocking rise in Covid 19 cases, the medical infrastructure in the country is on the verge of collapse. Ever since the first Covid-19 wave hit the country mid-2020, signs were clear
As India grapples with shocking rise in Covid 19 cases, the medical infrastructure in the country is on the verge of collapse. Ever since the first Covid-19 wave hit the country mid-2020, signs were clear that a second wave was inevitable. However, the magnitude of this wave was, although something no one could predict, could have been mitigated with a contingency plan for the worst case.
We can list down many blunders the country has seen in the past 6 months (Oct 2020 – Mar 2021) as a result of inept governments, lack of planning, complacency, arrogance, illiteracy, wrong priorities etc. However, this has been widely documented across media houses and does not need further deep dive.
What needs to be addressed however, on priority is that the core reason for this current human disaster in India is one word: POPULATION
The last pandemic to hit the world occurred in 1914. India’s population in 1914 was approximately 300 million (same as the population of USA in 2021). The number of deaths in the 1914 pandemic in India were estimated to be between 17-18 million people (1.7-1.8 crore people). This made up roughly 5 % of the entire population back then. This was the only time since the census started that India’s population growth actually was in the negative.
In the past 100 odd years, India has added 1.1 billion people to its population and the current rate at which Covid-19 is spreading and causing havoc in the country, the 5% mortality seen in 1914 is under threat. Imagine 5% of 1.3 BN? We should not.
Now, despite the fact that medical science has made tremendous strides in the past 100 years. But a new virus doesn’t really care about medical progress as has been so evident through Covid-19. Medical progress can only work if the population it is supposed to cure is manageable in numbers, sanity and literacy. This is where India falls short.
Not only is the huge population India’s core problem (pandemic or otherwise), it is also a tremendous burden on the entire system. Economic, medical, infra, education, food, wealth etc. India struggles on many fronts due to the burden this massive population puts on the entire system in in the country. And we are seeing the consequences of it today.
To understand the sheer scale of India’s population, let us look at some numbers and compare it with other countries. (Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Australia, UK, USA, India)
When it comes to vaccinating its populations, India is currently vaccinating at the rate of 3 million people per day. Assume if India’s population was equal to the countries listed above, it would have taken the following number of days for India to vaccinate its entire population.
Now many of you will highlight the fact that population has been a long term known problem for India. But here is another eye opener for you. India has been adding equivalent countries to its populations every year for the past decade. Below is a snapshot over the past 5 years.
The trends at least show us that India’s population growth rate is declining which is a positive sign. However, the rate is still miniscule when considered against the 1.4 BN people India already has. In order for this rate to really be controlled, wider measures need to be taken to address this problem at its root.
Measures such as educating people about the impact of high population on medical systems, income equality, opportunities, hospital infrastructure etc. which have been exposed so very glaringly in this pandemic need to be percolated to grass roots level on the backdrop of this pandemic.
Possible solutions could be restrictions on rations, education facilities, passport etc. can be brought into effect to control the population growth. Bottom line is, something needs to be done and done fast.
To conclude, it would truly be sad and a monumental system failure that even after such a disaster of mind-boggling proportions unfolding in front of our eyes, if India doesn’t take steps to control its population growth and make it a national priority once the pandemic subsides, by the time the next pandemic hits the world, India’s population will have reached such gargantuan proportions that the loss of life will truly be catastrophic.
And then no other country will be in a position to support our population beyond theirs and we will be left to rue the fact that we did not learn anything from Covid-19 that hit in 2020.
Let us all spread this awareness around us so that the next generation doesn’t have to suffer again in their lifetimes what they have suffered in their early years. Our next generation may not forgive us and our ancestors for the mess we brought them and left into