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Editorial Consultants
E.J. Kalwachia and
A.C. Patankar

F.K. Khapoliwalla
(Mumbai and Kolkata)
Dhruv Sharma (New Delhi)
Vinod Kumar (Chennai)

N.D. Bacha
S.R. Marolia

Contributing Editor
P.D. Muncherji

Copy Editor
Delshad Kumana

Assistant Editor
Rashna Ardesher

B.K. Karanjia


Population First

Had our former Chairman, Sohrab Godrej, been alive today, he would have felt a sense of fulfilment that, at long last, India Inc. has launched Population First to unitedly challenge and take on the issue of population stabilisation. Individual corporations such as the Tata Group, Larsen & Toubro, the Birla Group, the Bajaj Group, Century Mills, Hindoostan Spinning & Weaving Mills, Godrej are working towards the same end, and their efforts have been adequately covered in our regular feature, Corporate Concerns, in past issues of this magazine. But Population First marks a new beginning in that eminent Indian corporate heads are uniting for the first time in a concerted effort to work out a sustainable human development programme with focus on health and family issues. The aim is to help Central and State Governments to fulfil the goal of population stabilisation by the year 2045, as enunciated in our National Population Policy 2000.

Sohrab agreed with J.R.D. Tata that overpopulation was the mother of all our problems. He would often quote the statistics that with only 2.5 per cent of the world’s land area, we have to support as much as 16 per cent (860 million then) of the world’s population, on merely 1.5 per cent of the world’s income: “This highlights the stark truth that without definite success in population control, the full benefits of liberalisation will continue to elude us.” Reiterating the same point Keshub Mahindra, first Chairman of the Population First board, declared at the inaugural function that for India to achieve its objective of becoming a true economic superpower, “the first and foremost problem of overpopulation needs to be tackled”. It is a matter of pride for Godrej that their Family Planning programme in Pirojshanagar has achieved a hundred per cent success rate. Chairman and Managing Director Jamshyd Godrej will no doubt put his experience to good use as a member of the Board of Trustees. To aid the Board, there will also be an Advisory Council headed by Dr. J.J. Irani, former Managing Director of Tata Steel.

Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata made a significant point at the meeting — even more important than long-term stabilisation is the goal of sensitisation: “By sensitisation, I mean that every sector of our society from government to bureaucracy to media to private sector to common man, needs to comprehend the immensity of the problem of population and actually chip in, in their own way, to stop the impending calamity. Then, and only then, can we be a truly progressive nation.”

B.K. Karanjia