India as of now is the second largest country by population just after China. Although we have seen that China, despite being a lot bigger than India in every terms has taken effective steps in order to reduce the rate of population in their country.

India till now hasn't taken any of such effective steps. What might be the reason(s) behind such inactivity of the Indian Govt?

These kind of steps are quite political. We may as well guess that for political reason only government hasn't interfered till now (assumption).

So what might be the reason behind such political silence?

  • 5
    This WP article gives a clue why any family planning initiatives in India will be viewed with great suspicion. (The 1975-77 mass sterilisation also is one of the main storylines in Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children). Commented Oct 6, 2013 at 9:04
  • 8
    This question implies that they should take steps. What do you base that on?
    – user1530
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 5:44
  • 4
    @DA. - Malthusianism, among other things.
    – user4012
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 15:53
  • 2
    People still believe Malthus?
    – J Doe
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 20:21
  • @JDoe even if we have not hit the Malthusian limit, it's very obvious that one has to exist. Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 8:53

4 Answers 4


When I was in school and read about the population problem of the country, I thought that every problem in the country is because of this huge population. I thought that if population can be controlled, most of the problems can be solved. I had the same question, why Government does nothing to control it.

Now, after growing up, I have seen and experienced that this huge population is not generally considered as a problem by many. Even, Government talks about the problems of Poverty, Corruption, Inflation, Security etc. but ironically, Population is never an agenda.

Actually, people are considered as resources and kind of asset. Man-power, they call it. Though, with changing times, families in India are not getting as big as they used to be in past. Now, people have generally two or three children at max. in contrary to the minimum of 4-5 children in past. One mentality, especially in poor families was that, if you have more children, you will have more sources of income. i.e. they will grow up and earn money for the family. This is also changing now, probably.

As far as Government is concerned, though they do not talk about population as a huge problem, there are Government schemes in place which spread the message of the benefits of less children (Hum do hamare do - an old campaign that promotes having two kids at max.).

Govt. also has several schemes in which benefits are given to families having one or two children OR cancellation of benefits for the families having more than three children.

Things are changing at the level of individual with time and I feel, it will get better with time.


This is a late answer, but I will try to answer from a different perspective.

  1. The Government has actually tried to control the overpopulation - Wikipedia tells us that:

India's state of emergency between 1975 and 1977 included a family planning initiative that began in April 1976 through which the government hoped to lower India's ever increasing population. This program used propaganda and monetary incentives to, some may construe, inveigle citizens to get sterilized

Son of the Prime Minister at the time Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi was largely blamed for what turned out to be a failed program

In my opinion, the program's failure can be justified by its approach -it is trying to deal with the effects, not the causes.

  1. The actual causes. According to this article, the main causes for overpopulation are Early Marriage and Universal Marriage System, Poverty and Illiteracy.

So, education is an important factor behind overpopulation, especially female illiteracy. According to Wikipedia "women have a much lower literacy rate than men. Far fewer girls are enrolled in the schools, and many of them drop out".

However, the Government managed to improve this in the last decades:

The number of literate women among the female population of India was between 2–6% from the British Raj onwards to the formation of the Republic of India in 1947.[96] Concerted efforts led to improvement from 15.3% in 1961 to 28.5% in 1981.[96] By 2001 literacy for women had exceeded 50% of the overall female population, though these statistics were still very low compared to world standards and even male literacy within India.[97] Recently the Indian government has launched Saakshar Bharat Mission for Female Literacy. This mission aims to bring down female illiteracy by half of its present level.

Note: Some years ago, a documentary dealt with this subject. Unfortunately, I cannot find any reference of it, so I put this idea as a note only. Besides other things, it included lots of interviews with girls and women from various regions of India. Conclusion: educated girls and women almost never wanted more than 2 children.

So, my answer is that the Government is trying to treat the causes of overpopulation (at least the education part). If successful, the results should be visible in the near future.

  1. India is one of the world's leading Democracies. As such, it is very difficult to make sweeping decisions, as china is enabled to do with its one ruling party and its censorship and all like that. I see this as a good thing in some cases, and a bad thing in other cases.

  2. Perhaps some people in India, like some in America, believe that population control in not only immoral, but unnecessary and that the 'problem' is overhyped by worry warts and people with agendas.

2A) Perhaps many in India have overlooked class divisions, and how the number of people could be turned from perceived weakness to actual strength.

  • 6
    Citations for these assertions/theories?
    – user4012
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 15:55

India is a vastly diverse place, parts of it are developed and parts of it is highly undeveloped, and similarly the value systems. Many people still believe in having more children, the reasons are many. There are a lots of places where large families are still the norm. There are people who believe it is immoral and against religion. There are places and lifestyles where having more kids results in having more people to look after the farm or the family business.

It was tried once by the Indira Gandhi government and it contributed along with some other factors to the party losing the next elections. That's the general attitude towards the idea, and therefore political parties aren't really keen on the idea either.

India has a large number of poor people and uneducated and these people don't understand the need for contraceptives or may rather spend that money for the next meal. We are talking about people who earn on average a dollar a day.

India is a place where divisions based on religion and class is deep rooted and there are areas where religious leaders actively propagate the idea of having more children so that 'our faith stays alive'.

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