The government’s goal of reducing the country’s population growth rate from 1.39 percent to 1 percent by 2016 is very hard to achieve, say officials and population experts.
While the nation observed the World Population Day yesterday, the experts said the acceleration in growth of population seen over the years suggests that the goal set in 2009 is highly ambitious.
This year the slogan of the day was “The World at 7 Billion”.
Ahmed Al Sabir, a former director (research) of National Institute of Population Research and Training, told The Daily Star that most of the successes on the population issue are attained on papers. But the real picture is different.
The country saw population increase by 2.22 crore in the period from 2001 to 2011, 2.12 crore from 1991 to 2001 and 3.16 crore from 1974 to 1991, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
As per reports of various international organisations including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the country’s population is around 160 million. However, results of the national population census conducted this year are yet to be published.
Compared with the country’s land, it has a huge population, said MM Neazuddin, director general of the Directorate General of Family Planning.
The issue of population is at the top of the government’s priority list, he said. Manpower and budget allocation for the national family planning department have been increased over the years.
“We are hopeful that we would meet our goal,” he noted.
Meanwhile, government and non-government organisations across the country observed the day through different programmes.
The health and family planning ministry held a programme around 10:00am at the city’s Osmani Auditorium. AFM Ruhul Haque, health and family planning minister, was present there as the chief guest.
Prof Syed Modasser Ali, adviser to the prime minister; Capt (Retd) Mujibur Rahman Fakir, state minister for health and family welfare; Yuki Suehiro, in-charge of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); and MM Neazuddin also addressed the meet.
Earlier on the day, the ministry organised a colourful procession from National Shishu Academy to Osmani Memorial Auditorium.
As the world population is expected to cross 7 billion this year, UNFPA and its partners are launching a campaign called “7 Billion Actions” aiming to engage people, spur commitment and spark actions to the opportunities and challenges presented by the world.
-With The Daily Star input