GUWAHATI: The national policy in India seeks to limit the growth of population. In Christian-majority Mizoram, an influential civil society organisation, "Young Mizo Association" (YMA), has appealed to Mizos to produce more children.
With 52 persons in per sq km, Mizoram has the second lowest density of population in the country after Arunachal Pradesh. The national average is 382 persons per sq km. As per the 2011 Census, Mizoram's population is around 11 lakh. The YMA says there are a lot of empty spaces in Mizoram which the Mizos are not occupying properly.
"Our population is like that of a district in Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. The growth of population, as per the last census, is supposed to be multiplied by 2.35 per cent annually. However, in Mizoram, it is only around 1.5 to 1.7 per cent," YMA president Vanlalruata told The New Indian Express. He said in the event of the rise of population, Mizos could develop entrepreneurship among others.
A balanced population will augment workforce. There are thousands of migrant workers and labourers in Mizoram. That space can be filled in by Mizos, he said. "Then, we have the problems of the illegal immigrants. Bangladeshis come to Assam and from there, they move into Mizoram. And from our western belt, there is the infiltration of the Chakmas. There are also migrants from Myanmar staying illegally in Mizoram. So, if you are having a lot of spaces, then that will get occupied by other people," Vanlalruata said.
He said not just the YMA, the Church in Mizoram too believed that the Mizos were underpopulation. "We cannot move ahead unless we have a higher population," he added. Most states in the Northeast have a very small population. There have been instances here of women being rewarded with cash for producing more children. The trend was set by the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council in Meghalaya "to save Khasis from being outnumbered by outsiders". Later, it was replicated in Manipur.