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article imageLate-night TV considered as population control tool in India

By Michael Krebs     Aug 2, 2009 in Environment
India's health minister pushes for electricity expansion into the country's villages, saying that late-night television will make people fall asleep and curb procreation.
Electricity delivered to remote Indian villages will help curb India's population explosion - at least this is the hope of India's Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
"Since independence in 1947, the population has tripled to nearly 1.2 billion and now grows by 18 million every year," AFP reported on Saturday. "India is expected to surpass China as the world's most populous nation by 2028 and the population is predicted to top 1.5 billion by 2050."
India's population growth is unsustainable and basic resources - such as adequate drinking water and sanitation - are scarce and are in rapid decline. The pressures of the population are having impact on societal infrastructure such as jobs, housing, education and health care.
"If there is electricity in every village, then people will watch TV till late at night and then fall asleep. They won't get a chance to produce children," Azad said.
Family planning education in India often conflicts with much of Indian culture, where a large family is seen as an investment toward a better life in old age.
"Asking people to have fewer kids in India is just like telling them to change their religion. It is a very sensitive issue," Veena Rawat told AFP. Ms. Rawat runs an organization that advocates family planning in India. "We could induce couples to have fewer children by providing monetary support or gifting them retirement benefits."
There is evidence that population growth decreases as economic and social status increases - particularly among women. Earlier this month, the United Nations' Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made an appeal along these lines to mark World Population Day.
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