The following questions are based on four passages in English to test the comprehension of English language. Read each passage and answer the questions.
The 2011 Census, provisional results of which are now available, suggest that only a tight-lipped smile is in order because while India’s population is not growing as fast as it has been for the last 60 years, it has more than tripled in this time. 1.21 billion Indians, still growing albeit at a decelerating pace, is a cause for very serious concern. As China has discovered, even a GDP growth rate of over 10 per cent sustained over 15 or more years is not enough to bring down poverty levels in a measure that can relieve right-thinking people of a sense of guilt and apprehension. Guilt, because growth widens income disparities, and apprehension because these growing disparities lead to socially and politically unpredictable outcomes. In the end, the State and the citizen turn on each other, as we have been seeing in India, and will doubtless see in China as well. So double-digit growth in GDP can only be one side of the solution, namely, the supply side. The other side, namely the demand side, has also to be tackled.
Once again, both India and China have adopted two extreme ends of policy on population. Successive Indian governments have chosen to follow a gently-as-she-goes policy while successive Chinese governments have used the crude one-child policy. In consequence, Indian population growth is slowing too slowly and Chinese population has slowed too rapidly and soon their dependency ratio will increase to Japanese levels.
For India, the time has come to stop taking comfort from little gains like increase in literacy, lower mortality and so on. These are no doubt important at the individual level. But in allowing the Amartya Sen-Martha Nussbaum approach to drive policy, the big problem can be lost sight of. And, as Dr Sen would be the first to concede, the maximisation of individual utilities does not always lead to a maximisation of social utility. After all, he was amongst the first to point this out in the 1960s. So while the liberals do their bit for the individual, the Government will have to do its bit for the country and society. Perhaps, for starters, the portfolio can be brought under the PMO, just like space and atomic energy. If nothing else, it would at least send out the much-needed signal that the ghost of the 1976 forced sterilisation programme has finally been laid to rest.
Low population in China and Japan will: