Book: J. R. D. Tata Keynote

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Population

Awaken to the Urgency

 

The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd., Chairman's Statement, August 22, 1951.

 

here has, in the past, been an extraordinary reluctance to consider the population problem at all or an equally dangerous tendency to over-simplify it by relating it only to food production. Even if the latter could be made to keep pace indefinitely with the rise in our population, the problem would be solved only in part because even the poorest of our people are not likely to be satisfied for long merely with a sufficiency of food.

Awakened to the higher standards prevailing in Western countries, they will rightly demand improved standards also in clothing, shelter, education, health, security, etc. To build up such standards, within a reasonable time, from the pitifully low levels of today, would be a prodigious task even if our population remained at the present figure.

A little simple arithmetic will show that if the present rate of growth is allowed to continue unchecked, our population will increase by another 200 million within thirty-five years and double itself in a little over fifty years. In the face of such staggering figures, can there be any doubt that unless this problem is solved no amount of effort, however heroic, to build a new life for our people can succeed, and disaster will follow within the lifetime of the present generation?

I am aware how closely this problem is bound up with the traditional concepts of a people with so ancient a civilisation as ours, but, I am not one of those who believe that nothing effective can be done. In fact, the problem is capable of being tackled in a number of ways once its magnitude and urgency are recognised. The first step to be taken, in my view, is for the Government to constitute, without delay, a high powered commission consisting of eminent scientists, economists and sociologists to investigate the problem in all its aspects.

A clear and authoritative statement of the facts underlying the problem and of the remedies to which they point would provide an effective starting point for the education of public opinion and the formulation of the necessary legislative and administrative measures.

 

Population, Resources and Environment

 

At the International Consultation of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on Population Issues, Geneva, September 13-15, 1983.

 

It is mainly individuals and voluntary organisations who have pioneered studies and programmes which first made governments aware of the threatening population problem, raised birth control as a basic human rights question and urged the need for action. Let us recall as we meet today in this beautiful city of Geneva, that it was also here, in 1927, that the first ever World Population Conference took place – called by that public-spirited pioneer of birth control, Margaret Sanger, whose initiative brought together leading scientists of the world to discuss the population issue. Our authority therefore derives as much from experience and expertise as from earnestness.

We recognise, of course, that in an enterprise as formidable as global population control and management, governments with their political authority, resources and organisation, have the primary role in launching and pushing through national programmes. Again, to the extent that these programmes have international dimensions and global solutions have to be found, international initiatives, such as those under U.N. auspices, are also essential. But ours can be a very powerful supportive and persuasive role.

Many of us who have gathered here have been concerned with the population problem longer than most government officials dealing with the subject today. My own concern with this issue goes back to 1951 when, in a speech, I was perhaps the first in India publicly to sound the alarm about our galloping population. I warned that unless its growth rate was reduced, no amount of effort, however heroic, to develop our economy and build a new life for our people could succeed and disaster would follow within the lifetime of the present generation. I must have sounded convincing, for only 350 million people were added to our population in the next thirty years!

We are all aware of the staggering dimensions of the problem but perhaps not of the stunning fact that while it took mankind one million years to reach its first billion, only another hundred years were needed to add the second billion, and that the twentieth century will, by itself, have added another four and a half billion; or that, as stated in 'Global 2000 Report to the Americal President', 'three-quarters of the people who have ever lived since life on earth began are alive today.'

Further ahead looms the threat of another four to six billion which will almost inevitably be added to the world's population before, according to U.N. and World Bank projections, it might stabilise at ten to twelve billion in the next century.

Another striking feature of the awesome growth in the present century is that virtually the whole of it has taken place in the underdeveloped areas of the world, while, except for immigration, the population of developed countries practically stabilised in the first half of this century. The main consequence of this is that, whereas economic growth in the developed world, fuelled by the industrial revolution, far outstripped population growth, leading to rapidly rising standards of living, economic growth in the developing world barely exceeded population growth.

India provides a striking example of this, although its average economic growth rate of about 3.5% over the past thirty years was not much less than that of most of the industrialised world excepting a few galloping economies such as those of Japan and Korea, its annual 2.4% rise in population left only a miserable 1.3% to contribute to raising per capita income. As a result, despite $170 billion spent on planned development, the number of people below the poverty line is higher today than it was thirty years ago. The poverty line in India is defined by the Government as represented by an income /of less than $100 per annum!

This strikingly shows that while economic development is, and always will be, an essential prerequisite for raising standards of living and must be the compelling goal of every developing country, it cannot achieve that purpose by itself with an acceptably short period of time, unless accompanied by a low rate of population growth.

 

Disastrous Consequences

 

The explosive growth of population in underdeveloped or developing countries in the past century had three disastrous consequences:

First, it kept the people abjectly poor and deprived them of opportunities for a better quality of life for themselves.

Second, it made such demands on the earth's finite resources as to cause environmental havoc, plainly visible in my country in the massive deforestation, eroding soil, silted waterways and recurring floods in the plains. As Lester Brown has so aptly said, 'Once the level of demand breaches the threshold of sustainability, additional demand can be satisfied only by consuming the productive resource base itself.'

Third, it led to a mass migration of population from rural to urban areas, resulting in the growth of appallingly congested slums devoid of the barest necessities of a decent life. Demographic trends suggest that in this last quarter of the twentieth century, at least 5,000 new cities with a population of more than half a million each will be built in the world and almost all of them will be in the developing countries, bringing in their trail critical problems of congestion, slums and pollution.

It needs to be pointed out, however, that critical damage can be done to the environment even in countries free from excessive population as can be seen from the pollution of land, air, rivers and lakes, the blighted forests and chemically poisoned soil in many parts of America and Europe.

Massive unemployment is also one of the most grievous consequences of an excessively rapid population growth. While high unemployment can, and does, occur also at times in developed countries with stable population such as in Europe and the U.S.A. during the current economic recession, its effects are palliated by the social security benefits provided to the unemployed in affluent societies. Such relief is not available in developing countries where growing unemployment aggravates the general poverty.

As I.L.O. statistics have shown, an annual population growth rate of 2.5% prevailing in most of the developing world adds each year 6% to 7% to the labour force of countries which cannot find employment even for their existing population. This problem is further aggravated by the fact that modern industries are highly capital intensive and offer relatively little scope for direct employment. In fact, official reports show that out of every hundred jobs created in recent decades, organised industry directly absorbed only three. Even with a very high annual GNP growth rate of 8% to 10% over a decade, Brazil could not cope with its serious unemployment problem.

Finally, and most cruelly, the upsurge of population growth is beginning to be writ large in the hunger and emaciation of masses of people in the world living below the poverty line. 'Fertilise the land, sterilise the man,' would be a good motto for many developing countries for several decades to come.

 

The Promise of Television

 

Against this background of ever growing demand on finite resources and poverty due to unchecked population growth, the question arises as to why, with all the knowledge of the facts and the technologies and skills available, so little has been done up to now to reverse the trends which, if unchecked, can only lead ultimately to global deprivation, natural disasters and political chaos. One would think that the nightmarish figures of population growth would be sufficient to drive the governments of all major countries into a frenzy of activity and resource allocation to population control programmes. The alarm has indeed been raised but no sirens are sounding; no state of emergency has been announced anywhere in the world except by Non-Governmental Organisations, by United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and by a few thinking individuals, government officials and some of the media.

The recent development of satellite communications available for purposes of disseminating television programmes, by-passing the need for a huge number of self contained television broadcasting stations, has created a new dimension and opened a new era in which high quality programmes to impart literacy primary education, health-cum-family planning, agricultural advice, vital news and entertainment can in due course be beamed to hundreds of millions of people in rural areas. I am glad to say that the Government of India has already announced a bold plan which, to start with, will create one hundred and eighty broadcasting stations linked with a geosynchronous satellite of its own covering seventy per cent of the population through village television sets.

If I am enthused about this new medium of communication, it is because of the clear evidence, in countries like mine, that the acquisition and sustenance of primary education, or even bare literacy, creates by itself strong motivation for family planning. A striking corroboration of this can be seen in the fact that the State of Kerala, which has the highest literacy rate in India, has also the lowest birth rate, while the State of Rajasthan with the lowest literacy rate of all, has the highest birth rate.

The lamentably low literacy rate prevailing in a country which produces amongst the most intelligent, educated and creative people in the world, stems not so much from the cost or difficulty of building and running enough schools, for classes can always be held without proper schools, but in providing the millions of trained teachers required, a problem compounded by the multiplicity of Indian languages. Some cases have been reported of duly appointed teachers later proving to be illiterate or to have relapsed into illiteracy! Literacy once acquired needs to be sustained, and this in turn needs books, magazines and newspapers to maintain the interest and the urge to read. This itself is a problem in backward rural areas, which television could partially solve at a small overall cost.

I have already spoken too long on the pure population aspect of our theme and must briefly deal with the subjects of resources and environment as they are closely interrelated.

Both developed and underdeveloped countries suffer from serious self-inflicted damage to their environment; the former mainly from the unchecked release into the air, the land and the rivers of the gaseous by-products of hydro-carbon combustion and of chemical effluents; the latter, mainly from massive deforestation caused by the ever growing hunger for arable land and for firewood, which is virtually the only cheap fuel other than cow dung available to the rural masses of India. By 1980, the earth's forest cover had already been reduced from one-quarter of the land's surface in mid-century to one-fifth and each year brings a further shrinking of this protective green belt by an area the size of the whole of Hungary or half of California.

The Himalayas, one of the world's major eco-belts, are already in irreversible danger of damage and this mighty mountain chain could become barren by the first half of the next century. Already no forests are to be found below 3,000 metres, and even in the middle Himalayas, which rise to an average height of 3,000 metres, the forest area, originally a third of the total, has been reduced to a mere six to eight per cent. The consequences, as a government report pinpoints, are 'increasing floods, soil erosion, heavy siltation of dams built at enormous expense and change in microclimate. In other words, a progressive depletion of the country's ecological bank, driving it incessantly towards bankruptcy.'

Is it not clear that of all the main causes of the poverty, ill-health and misery which blight the life of billions of people on earth, excessive population growth is the dominant one, and that of all the problems and tasks facing humanity none is more urgent or has greater priority than that of reducing the birth rate as a first step towards saving present and future generations from disaster?

If $25 billion, equivalent to three times as much in today's dollars could be spent by the U.S.A. alone to put man on the moon (in 1969), surely the world can afford the small fraction of such a sum required to launch a massive programme of concentrated research and assistance to combat the dire threat to world peace and prosperity which lies in uncontrolled population growth.

There is no need to despair, however, for there is now real and encouraging evidence of the increasingly widespread acceptance of the need to control the size of one's family even amongst the people, particularly the women, of the poorest lands when given a chance to decide for themselves. And there prevails today amongst the governments of most highly populated developing countries, including my own, a new and intense awareness of the existence and magnitude of the danger and the need for urgent and sustained action.

Finally, new techniques and technological developments, including that of new means of mass communication with millions of people who previously could not be reached are now available to support population, health and development programmes.

Much stil! remains to be done, but in the long and still arduous journey ahead, the wisdom, experience and resources of Non-Governmental Organisations will, I am sure, play an ever greater and increasingly effective role in this great task to which we are all dedicated, aimed at ensuring a better life for all the underprivileged peoples of the world.

 

Tackling the Masses

 

Keynote Address at the National Seminar on Population Management, Delhi, August 29, 1987.

 

With our birth rate still hovering around thirty-three per thousand and our death rate at twelve, should we be surprised that all demographic predictions show that,.without a dramatic reduction in our birth rate, we shall not reach the kind of stable population achieved by the rich countries of the world until towards the end of the next century, and our people will continue, for most.of it, to be amongst the poorest in the world?

Those who, like myself, have for so long been so deeply conscious of our population problem cannot but lament the fact that even after the passage of forty years of Independence, and although our country was the first in the world to adopt family planning as a state policy, so little progress has been made in reducing our population growth rate while so much of our energies and time has been, and is still being, spent on secondary or minor issues and political quarrels, which bear so little relevance to the real and urgent needs of our people.

I shall try, as far as possible, to avoid generalities and concentrate instead on those few specific aspects of the problem and possible solutions, which seem to me most relevant to our deliberations and recommendations.

To begin with, I think it is worth noting that, contrary to the belief of many people in our country that our population problem is an age-old one, and consequently not amenable to modern scientific solutions except over many centuries, it actually is a very recent one. For it dates back only to the past fifty or sixty years in the course of which the discovery and application of new drugs and forms of treatment and health care brought a dramatic decline in the death rate, while the birth rate remained more or less constant. If the same population problem trend did not occur in the West, it was because the birth rate was already relatively low, education was universal and the economic benefits of small families helped by rapid economic growth and the unrestricted availability of contraceptive pills and other devices were already well appreciated.

Unfortunately, in India, because of poverty, ignorance and illiteracy, combined with deeply ingrained social customs, the realisation of the benefits of smaller families has only recently begun to dawn on the masses of our people, and the birth rate has remained high.

The suddenness and speed of the population explosion took the country by surprise, including the Central and State Governments, which not only lacked experience to deal with the grave socio-economic problems it caused, but aggravated them by giving them such a low priority as to devote, year after year, only one per cent of Plan outlays to dealing with them.

Thus it is that, as we celebrate the first forty years of our Independence, many of us ponder anxiously on what the next hundred years will hold for the billion and a half or so of our people who will be alive by then.

 

Clear Goal

 

While there is much to bemoan, there is no cause for despair. Forty years ago, we did not expect our population to explode in our face, and did not understand or visualise the seriousness of its economic and social consequences, and therefore how to deal with them when they hit us. We do now. We have learnt from our failures and shortcomings as well as from our few successes. We have today the knowledge, the skills and the tools to tackle the obstacles in the way.

We have acquired invaluable experience in planning and administering huge welfare programmes of great complexity and have made substantial progress towards our objectives, 45 million couples in their reproductive age or 35 per cent of the total have been effectively protected against unwanted births. 76 million births are estimated to have been averted so far and 8 million are being averted every year.

We have a clear demographic goal, namely, the achievement of a net reproduction rate of one, involving a reduced birth rate of 21 per thousand. How soon can we realistically expect to reach that goal? The Planning Commission having, more than once, extended its earlier estimates have now projected the year 2010 or thereabouts as the earliest possible target date.

We have already succeeded in winning a considerable degree of acceptability of smaller family norms amongst women; contraceptive protection methods are estimated to be adopted by about twenty-five per cent of women of childbearing age. We have marshalled a variety of contraceptive technologies and built up the beginnings of a vast network of medical and para-medical manpower.

With better management and support, the organisation built up over the years of 12,000 primary health centres and 90,000 sub-centres manned by over 40,000 doctors, 185,000 multi-purpose health workers and 3,90,000 village health guides could dramatically transform the grim situation still facing us.

While there is, therefore, no reason for pessimism, clearly much more must be done, and done more effectively than in the past if our advance towards our goal is to be accelerated. A task of this magnitude and complexity necessarily covers a vast number of different elements and measures to be co-ordinated into a coherent whole. I shall limit the remainder of my remarks to touching upon four specific measures which, if accorded the necessary emphasis and priority, would, in my view, give a great momentum to our whole programme.

 

Age of Marriage

 

There can be no doubt that a reduction in the number of years of married life in a woman's reproductive cycle would be dramatically reflected in the number of children she is likely to bear. This measure was indeed adopted in 1978 when the legal age of marriage was raised from fifteen to eighteen. But as we all know this law has been, from the start, perhaps the most flouted one in our country, and a large proportion of girls are married well before the legal age because, while there is little social pressure against early marriages, our State Governments are more sensitive to possible vote-losing consequences than in enforcing the law.

 

Literacy

 

My second point concerns the critical importance of female education, and literacy to begin with, as a crucial determinant of fertility amongst women in India. All the statistics prove it. We all know, for instance, that Kerala, with the highest female literacy rate in the country, enjoys also the lowest birth rate, while Rajasthan's appallingly low female literacy rate is accompanied by the highest birth rate in the country, a statistical relationship which is reflected in most of the other States. This should surely suffice to convince the Central and State Governments that concentrating on literacy programmes, particularly amongst girls and young women, would be a most effective instrument in reducing the birth rate, quite apart from its immensely beneficial contribution to the task of eradicating the ignorance, discrimination, injustice and other evils which continue to plague our long-suffering women.

 

Communication

 

A major cause of our failure to achieve fuller and quicker results in our family planning and health programmes has lain in a failure of communication, which is at the very heart of any programme aimed at convincing people of the need to change longstanding beliefs and habits. The fact that large sections of our rural population have up to now been largely inaccessible except to their immediate neighbours because of their remote location and lack of communications except radio has been a major impediment to greater progress towards our goal.

The advent of television and the Central Government's wise and imaginative plan to rapidly expand its network to cover most of the country's population will, if effectively used, provide an invaluable means of direct and, literally, visible communication with people in the rural areas, provided, of course, that television sets are installed and their maintenance assured in virtually every large village in the country. This is a superb means of informing, advising, helping, teaching and entertaining people who have in the past been kept isolated, ignorant and largely helpless. To be effective, however, the programmes beamed to them will have to be carefully planned, innovative, credible and in tune with the realities of village life. This programme should be given a high degree of priority.

 

Incentives

 

The fourth point I would urge to be considered and discussed today is the potentially powerful role of monetary incentives and, to a lesser extent, disincentives, as a means of inducing people to adopt small family norms and contraceptive protection throughout a woman's years of fertility. It is an unfortunate, but perhaps inevitable, fact that, in a country such as ours in which most of the people are not only poor but largely uneducated, even small monetary or equivalent incentives can be potent means of motivating people. A pitifully small reward of Rs.200 per sterilisation has been fairly widely adopted in India for some years and, sad to say, has had some effect in inducing men and women to submit to contraceptive surgery.

In a public speech I made in 1981, I presented figures which showed that the capital cost to the nation of providing the basic requirements of every additional citizen throughout his or her life and of that of their progeny over two generations, was of the order of Rs.42,000 in the then current rupees, a figure which would be nearer Rs.80,000 today. An expenditure on incentives and rewards of up to Rs.5,000 per birth saved by sterilisation or otherwise would, I believed, produce spectacular results and prove to be a highly viable investment for the nation.

Such monetary incentives could take other forms, such as, for instance, presenting to every young newly married woman a bond, which would provide her, at the end of twenty years, a sum of, say, Rs.50,000, provided she had not given birth to more than two children. Other incentives could take the form of preferential allocations of jobs and housing to the parents.

As we stand on the threshold of the twenty-first century, the basic issue is whether, as a free and richly endowed people, we achieve bare survival or the vigorous growth which alone can assure to our people the happiness and prosperity for which they have yearned for so long.

 

Checking Infant Mortality Rate

 

Speech at the National Seminar on "Infant Mortality in Relation to Fertility", New Delhi, July 1, 1988.

 

I must confess that in the early years when I first became interested in the population problem, our people numbered only about 350 million. We have since added a staggering 450 million souls. I myself was inclined, thoughtlessly, to feel that while infant mortality was a great tragedy for the bereaved parents, it would cure itself over the years. I am not surprised, therefore, that most people are not too concerned with the existence of a high infant mortality rate in our country; that a high infant mortality rate actually breeds increased fertility, now a well-known and proven fact; and that in many Third World countries, a reduction in the infant mortality rate has resulted in a drop in the birth rate.

How serious is the infant mortality problem in India? Every year, in India about 26 million children are born. On an average, 95 out of every 1000, or 2.5 million of them die before they live through the first year – which is the definition of infant mortality – and nearly 8 million of them will not reach the age of five. An additional tragic aspect of these premature infant deaths which occur, mainly amongst the poorest families ever vulnerable to disease, malnutrition and neglect, and chiefly in the rural areas, is that so many of these children have died and will die of diseases for which prevention and cure have long been available. This itself is, to my mind, a shameful situation. All this makes it clear that, apart from the humanitarian need to alleviate the misery of bereaved parents and the tragic loss of the millions that might have been promising lives, the stark realities of the population problem make it imperative that the elimination of a high infant mortality rate should be treated as a primary objective of any health and family planning programme of our country.

So what is clearly needed today is a more vigorous pursuit of the child survival movement. Experience in the 1980s has shown that through the child survival and development revolution, India is capable of a dramatic improvement within a short period of five to ten years and that is what we must concentrate on. We are told that the synergy now available of low-cost-high-impact medical technologies is capable of preventing a majority of what are today premature deaths.

 

Aiming at Peace and Prosperity

 

Speech at the United Nations, New York, on receiving the U.N. Population Award, September 17, 1992.

 

Historically, when agriculture was first developed in the world or on earth, some 12,000 years ago, the world population did not exceed about ten million – no more than the population of London today. Only after the beginning of the Christian era, 2,000 years ago, until about the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century, did it reach the first billion. The second billion took another 100 years but thereafter, alas, in an accelerating tempo the third billion took only 30 years to be achieved; the fourth billion 15 years and the fifth, only 12 years. The sixth billion is already upon us.

Alarmed by the fact that this frightening rate of population growth had been and continued to be largely ignored in India, even by those whose concern, I felt, should have been aroused by the potential threat to the economy, I took upon myself, woefully uneducated as I was on the subject, to raise the alarm in the course of a speech that I made in 1951. I was motivated by nothing more important than a kind of personal protest against the continuing poverty of most of my country's people, which had deprived them for so long of even minimum acceptable conditions of living and, in the process, had undermined all efforts at raising the nation's socio-economic development. The subject became for me, important, as that is a personal obsession which still haunts me.

1951 happened to be a transition year for India from which its population began its exponential growth, aided by a substantial fall in its mortality, itself due to the gradual eradication of famine and epidemics such as plague and small pox. In the years that followed, it did not seem to me enough merely to express indignation and worry while trying to make such use as I could of the limited opportunities offered to me in the course of my normal activities to spread knowledge of the threatening situation and wherever possible, to support local programmes of family planning. An opportunity to do a little more arose when the Ford Foundation, for whose advice and support I remain deeply grateful to this day, suggested that I help in establishing a working foundation to promote and propagate the cause of family planning. They extended generous encouragement and support to it.

When our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru eloquently spoke in 1947 on India's tryst with destiny, many of us hoped for a rapid transformation of India from the feudal and backward state it still was at that time, into a modern and progressive nation as was visibly happening in European and other countries within the middle decades of this century. India did fulfil some of Jawaharlal Nehru's expectations in that, helped by the green revolution of Dr. Norman Borlaug, it succeeded in banishing famine from the land, in reducing ignorance and disease and in raising an unduly short life span. But it totally failed, sad to say, to achieve the prime objective of reducing the rate of growth of our population to which are added every year about 17 million people, equivalent to the entire population of Australia. If the growth of the population of India continues at the present rate, it will in the remaining eight years left of this century, reach one billion, rising to about 1.7 billion a mere 25 years later at a rate of annual increase which is already among the highest in the world including China.

 

Causes of Failure

 

Why has India, even though amongst the first countries of the world to establish a national family planning programme, failed so dismally in its efforts to achieve that one essential objective in dramatic contrast to the countries of Europe, amongst others, in which large families were once as common as in India, but which succeeded in achieving within this very century demographic transition by the adoption of a small family norm. What prevented India from doing the same? I believe, from repeated personal experience of life in Europe, that their success has stemmed mainly from the existence thereof of two fundamental socio-economic elements. First, the firm determination among the child-bearing members of their generation that their children be not only strong and healthy but also well-educated or at least, well-trained in the specialised skills required for a productive career. The second element was their awareness that today the cost of modern education or professional training had become in most countries so high as to make it impossible for parents to afford to support large families. It is, I believe, the awareness and acceptance of these two beliefs, with the accompanying constraints, that have transformed the social habits of the people of those countries and motivated them, willy-nilly, to control the size of their families. In contrast regretfully, I suggest, the very absence of these two elements in India has been the main reason for its failure to control the rate of growth of its population and the main reason therefore for its continuing poverty.

If the above view is accepted, I believe, that the priority in the continuing pursuit of population stabilisation must now be to find in our country the means of convincing the people, particularly the parents, of the absolute necessity of adopting the small family norm in their own and their children's interest as well as that of the country as a whole.

 

Strategy for the 1990s

 

But time is of the essence. The speed with which the situation has been getting out of hand can be gauged from the dramatic statistics recently released by the Worldwide Fund for Nature and Friends of the Earth, which brought out that during the mere 12 days of the Rio Conference, 600 to 900 plant and animal species became extinct in the world and the world's population grew by 33 million. These striking examples of the phenomenon of population outstripping resources clearly calls for immediate action. In India, yesterday would not have been too early, tomorrow may be too late.

Can we, therefore, ignore the Resolution passed by the United Nations in 1990, which adopted an international development strategy and declared the last decade of the century as a decade for accelerated development? It specifically recommended, as part of that strategy for the 1990s, which includes today, that special attention be paid to population growth and that developed and developing countries alike should intensify their efforts to allocate adequate resources to population programmes.

It is indeed good to know that the priority of the United Nations in this decade will be not only to prevent or stop wars, but also to ensure peace and prosperity for all by the fulfillment of the socio-economic objectives they have themselves recommended.

 

 

 

________________________

The population of India in 1951 when the speech was made was 361 million. In 1981, it was 685 million.

Two years later in 1953, J.R.D. Tata, addressing shareholders of Tata Steel, repeated his warning given earlier and pointed out that nothing had been done to appoint such a commission. He continued to raise his voice during the decades to follow.

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