By far the most important obstacle to the growth of the Pakistan economy appears to be the terrific rate of growth of population an addition 1.5 million of people per year. The second and third plans have not been able to bring about a substantial improvement in the rate of income per capita primarily because of the fact that there has been an addition of 179.9. Take of people during the period 1951-61–the increase in population being from about 75-84 million in 1951 to 93.83 million in 1961. The rate of growth works out to slightly more than 2.16% per annum, which for an underdeveloped country is too high, bringing as this addition does a train of obstacles to economic progress. And now the rate of population growth has gone still further, to about 2.8% per annum. The population problem has assumed serious proportions due to a drop in the death rate in the face of a persistently growing birth rate. which leaves a big rate of survival. The death rate has come down, subsequent to the eradication of epidemics like plague and cholera and endemic disease like malaria. Penicillin and other antibiotics also have been greatly responsible for a drop in the death rate. A drop in the death rate should normally be welcome, particularly when working hands are saved and progeny is not wasted after a good deal of investment. A drop in the death rate should be particularly welcome when there is a corresponding fall in the birth rate as well. The fall in the birth-rate lags invariably behind the drop in the death-rate, leading to the phenomenon of a sudden spurt in the rate of growth of population.This phenomenon is observed to occur in the first phase of industrialization in almost every economy and there is a reversal only when a substantial improvement takes place in the standards of living of the people. Apart from the drop in the death-rate, there is also likely to be a sort of stimulus being given to the birth-rate due to increasing opportunities of employment and the spread of the temptation to enjoy economic betterment in the form of marriage and children. There is a considerable time-lag between the drop in the death rate and the fall in the birth-rate, resulting in tremendous growth of population which in more ways than one. comes in the way of a rapid economic development.
The immediate problem that comes up in an economy like’ ours is one most vital of all-of finding adequate food to feed the growing millions. As it is, there is an acute shortage of food in terms of both quantity and quality, which has resulted in a visible deterioration in the structure and health of the bulk of our population. Most of them are reduced to unhealthy living conditions with a deplorable vulnerability to a variety of debilitating diseases, incapacitating the workers to put in the normal quota of work. The weak are inexorably caught up in the vicious circle of poverty-the incapacity to work, resulting in low-income and growing a further onward push down-hill towards the valley of virtual living extinction. This tragic situation becomes all the more tragic when there is a continual addition of hopeless children to the families of those already caught up inextricably in the quagmire of destruction. The plight grows to form bad to worse with every addition that is made to the size of the family and very much like a recklessly loaded boat, the whole family sinks into poverty and eventually, in good many cases the entire lot gets drowned beyond recovery.
In order to avert such a calamity, the government is forced to import foodgrains from abroad and spend extremely scarce foreign exchange to get things which compete badly with the import of vital capital goods, required to promote a rapid rate of economic development. It also exposes the economy to the dangers of utter dependence on others for essential pre-requisites of existence. To the extent that imports of foodgrains come in the way of importing more essential capital-goods, the rate of growth of the economy is certainly hampered apart from the beggar’s face that we are forced to wear when we approach big powers for economic assistance in the form of foodgrains under P.L. 480, The perpetual threat of a famine round the corner certainly undermines the moral of those who are called upon to steer the economy towards progress. The faster the growth of population, the greater is the danger of dependence and the danger of “wastage” of scarce foreign exchange resources.
The net addition of 17.99 lakhs of people to the country brings about a rapid enlargement of the base of the population pyramid and there is a significant increase in the non-working age group of the total population which necessitates a greater allocation of the national income to provide for the basic consumption requirements of the children. The demand for increasing consumption eats into the potential savings (if any) of some sections of the people and therefore, there is an increasing fall in the rate of savings with every increase in population. The growth of population which provides a stimulus to production in the advanced economies and thus brings about an increase in income and employment does not work in the same fashion in the context of the over-populated backward economies like India, in which the spurt of population growth produces a result, exactly the opposite of the one that we find in the advanced economies.
The damage is done to potential savings by a rapidly growing population inevitably results in a low rate of investment and hence, the pace of progress must, of necessity, remain slow and slothful, The people of Pakistan suffer misery under the unbearable weight of their own insatiable lust which results in excessive procreation and the biological litter of the human species is thrown to find its way in an atmosphere of impenetrable gloom and darkness.
A rapidly growing population obstructs the growth of the Pakistan economy because of the unsettling effects of population growth, on the balance as between the different factors of production. Land per head, capital per head, transportation, power and water per head, special amenities like houses, schools, and hospitals per head, must necessarily keep declining when income does not keep pace with an ever growing population. The enormous crowds and queues that we witness in residential buildings, bus stops, market-places, employment-exchanges and petty political meetings as well are a sharp pointer to the enormous number of people that keep on pouring on this sacred land of ours due to the unquestionable grace of a kind divinity! Woe befall the man that is being eaten by his own creation!
About 95% of the people live under conditions of inhumán poverty and yet they breed like swine. Poverty, famines, unemployment, diseases and a hopeless deterioration of the physical, mental and moral structure of the human personality is the price that we are paying for the unrestrained exercise of our brutish lust.
The universality of marriage and unrestrained procreation is the greatest obstacle to Pakistan’s economic development. In the vigorous tug of war between the rate of growth of income and the rate of growth of population, the strength exercised by the population factor is a terrible force to reckon with. If the use of contraceptives does not make the lovers of lust sink deeper into the captivity of the sexual urge to expend themselves out and out to drink the last drop of pleasure and reduce themselves to a nought in so far, as their capacity to put in sustained work is concerned then there is a way out to save the Pakistan economy from the ever-increasing swarm of unwanted children, without sacrificing valuable human vitality so much required for economic development. There need be no doubt at all that the greatest obstacle to the growth of our economy is our big population.