One-Fifth of the World
ALTHOUGH SOUTH ASIA is a convenient administrative category in which to group Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ceylon, and India, the points of difference among these nations far exceed their similarities, especially when Iran, which belongs to the usual Middle East grouping, is included.
In the critical matter of population-land ratio, Iran and Afghanistan are relatively well off. East Pakistan is among the most densely populated areas of the world. There are large open spaces in Ceylon, India, and West Pakistan, but they can be effectively settled only after large investments of capital have been made to prepare the land and to provide water. In recent years, even Afghanistan has experienced considerable internal migration from overpopulated areas.
Efforts are being made to popularize family planning, particularly in Pakistan, India, and Ceylon. The Indian Government recently assessed its efforts and concluded that much more will have to be done if its slowly falling birth rate is to be reduced to the planned objective of 25 per 1,000 within a decade or so.