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[ Proposal No. 5 ]

GOA  Can  Show  The  Way

“ India is a nation of a billion people. A Nation’s progress depends upon how its people think. It is thoughts which are transformed into actions. India has to think as a nation of a billion people. Let the young minds blossom–full of thoughts, the thoughts of prosperity 

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam 

Government prides itself in declaring that India was the first country to adopt a population control policy right from the first five year plan (1951 – 1956). Yet after fifty years the goal of population stabilization is still eluding us. We have achieved remarkable success in Goa  and Kerela followed by Tamil Nadu, and to a considerable extent in states like Karnataka, Andhra, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, and Punjab.

The major concern is the large States of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Utar Pradesh, all of them collectively known as BIMARU STATES. 

Goa’s achievements in the field of family planning are noteworthy. The state has successfully brought down birth rate from 24 per thousand in 1962 to 14 per thousand in 1999. Besides family planning strategies, very low fertility below the age of 24 due to late initiation into child bearing which is a striking feature of reproductive behaviour of Goans by birth has contributed to population control in Goa. However, in the wake of the economic development that took place in the years ensuing liberation of Goa from Portuguese rule, a tremendous influx of labour force from other states such as Bihar, Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh has caused visible imbalance in the tiny Goa’s demographic profile. 

The reproductive profile of this labour population even after several years of stay in Goa is evocative of the reproductive profile of the population of the states of their origin that is of the BIMARU STATES and is the cause of great worry to the Goan population. 

‘There are lies, damn lies and ….. statistics’, thundered a great legislator of the democratic country in the parliament implying that statistics are used and misused to cover the failures, misdeeds, omissions and commissions of the rulers. The party in power will help even the foreigners and treat them as citizens of India, if the measure helps them to brighten their electoral prospects and also helps them to come to power as it has happened in the case of Bangladeshies in Assam. The issue continues to be a thorn in the flesh of Assamese, who are forced to live in peace with the problem. Same attitude is discernible in policy decisions on the population control in Goa which are indeed intended to strengthen the vote banks of political parties by helping the influx and growth of labour population from other states. 

Statistical averages conceal gross disparities in variables under study. Therefore, the present birth rate of 14 per thousand should not lead us to conclude that all is well on the front of population control in Goa. Goa’s population control programme should address effectively to the BIMARU STATES within the State of Goa., represented by the settlements of labourers from these states, as otherwise there is a great danger of Goa’s identity being dissolved and disappearing in thin air in the years to come. The process is under way for many years. 

Statistical indices are no doubt useful for economic planning but they cannot serve the purpose of measuring peoples aspirations. Ultimately it is the quality of life and the level of satisfaction in the population, and not just vital indicators, that should measure the level of progress and development. Goa’s population control programme should be guided by these considerations. 

A contribution by a founder member of Goa Su-Raj Party.

Goa Su-Raj Party has been in existence since 31/08/2000.

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