Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday said India should have a population policy prepared after comprehensive thought and be applicable to all communities equally.
Speaking at the RSS Dussehra rally at the Reshimbagh Ground in Nagpur, Bhagwat said community-based population imbalance is an important subject and should not be ignored.
Population imbalances lead to changes in geographical boundaries, he said.
The new population policy should be applicable to all communities equally to strike a balance, he said. “There has to be a balance among the communities in this country,” he added.
"Alongside the differences in birth rate, conversions by force, lure or greed and infiltration are also big reasons. All these factors have to be mulled over," he said.
Bhagwat also emphasised on the use of mother tongue and said "English language is not important for building a career".
"When expecting the government to institute the promotion of mother tongue, we should also consider whether we sign our names in our mother tongue or not? Whether the nameplates affixed on our residences are rendered in mother tongue or not? Whether household invitations bear the texts in the mother tongue or not?" Bhagwat said.
The RSS invited acclaimed mountaineer Santosh Yadav as the chief guest for the event. She is the first woman in the world to climb the Mount Everest twice.
Pointing out at China's “one family one child” policy, Bhagwat said, “While we are trying to control the population, we should see what happened in China. That country went for the one child policy and now it is getting older." “With 57 crore youth population in India, we will remain a young nation for next 30 years,” Bhagwat said.
“However, what will happen to India after 50 years? Will we have enough food to feed the population?” he added.
Bhagwat also stressed on people starting their own businesses and not relying solely on government jobs.
“All government jobs put together, only 30% population will be covered. Rest of the population will have to start their own businesses to create more employment,” he said.
Bhagwat raised concerns over India's huge population and said emphasis on society's participation in every sphere of our national life is not to relieve government of its responsibilities of governance, rather it is to emphasise societal partnership for national upliftment and pivot policy making in that direction.
"Our country has a huge population – this is a reality. Nowadays there are two kinds of evaluation done on population. Populations require resources, if it keeps growing it becomes a big burden, perhaps an unbearable burden," he said.
Therefore, with the perspective of population control, plans are made. There is another dimension in which population is considered an asset. Focus is on appropriate training and maximum usage, Bhagwat said.
"When we look at the world population one fact emerges. Only when we look at our country, thoughts may change," he said.
Bhagwat said China has reversed its population control policy to population growth.
"Our national interest influences our thoughts on population matters. Today, we are the youngest country. After 50 years, today's youth will be the future years' senior citizens, to look after them what size should be our young population, this math we also have to do," he said.
With efforts, the people make a country grand, they also carry on their family line and that of society, he said.
"To beget, preserve and protect a populace apart from being relevant for national identity and security is a subject that touches some other facets also," Bhagwat said.
He said the number of children is linked with maternal health, education, financial status and individual's wish. It is also dependent on what each family needs. Population impacts the environment also.
" In summation, the population policy has to be formulated considering all these factors mindfully. It should be applicable for all; public awareness campaigns will be required for creating a mindset of total observance of this policy. Only then rules pertaining to population control will yield results," he said.
In 2000, the Government of India after multi-stakeholder consultations framed a population policy. One key goal was to obtain a Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 2.1. Recently, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) report has been published. Due to social awareness and constructive co-operative efforts by the central and state governments, the TFR has come down below the targeted 2.1 to 2.0, the RSS chief said. Social scientists and mental health experts opine that ultra-nuclear families are posing challenges for the all-around development of young girls and boys, families are feeling a sense of insecurity, social tensions, loneliness, etc, are presenting testing times and a question mark hangs over the central edifice of our society –the 'family system', he said.
Bhagwat further said another question of great importance has arisen - that of population imbalance.
"Seventy five years ago, we experienced this in our country. In the 21st century, three new countries that have come into existence, East Timor, South Sudan and Kosovo – they have been the results of population imbalance in certain territories of Indonesia, Sudan and Serbia," he said.
Bhagwat also stressed on the use of mother tongue and said "English language is not important for building a career".
He said that education that encourages teaching in one's mother tongue as a policy is a highly reasonable opinion; the government and administration are paying attention to this by way of the New Education Policy (NEP).
"But do parents want their children to be taught in their mother-tongue? Or chasing the so-called financial gain or career (for which more than education, enterprise, courage and intuitive knowledge are required) chimeras, do they want their wards to become a part of a blind rat race?" he said.
Bhagwat further said the NEP should lead to students becoming highly cultured, good human beings who are also inspired by patriotism – this is everyone's desire.
But are the well-educated and intellectual parents aware of this overall objective of education when they send their children to schools and universities, he said.
"Education is not imparted only in classrooms. The home environment of 'Samskars' (ethical conduct) and the duties of the parents thereof, mediums that influence social behaviours and discipline, public figures and leaders, festivals, carnivals, social gatherings etc also play a major role. How much attention do we pay to that? "Without these exposures, only school-going education cannot be effective," Bhagwat said.
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