- New proposal to control population in India
- What was the earlier population policy in India?
- What is the stance of government on Population policy?
- How does this proposal affect poor and weak?
- Relation between Education, Health and Population
- Indian Policy perspective on Population growth
- Adverse Implication of excess sterilization during Indian emergency of 1975
- History of National Population Policy of India
- Highlights of National Population Policy, 2000
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On World Population Day, Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries expresses concerns over population explosion in India by proposing all political parties to enact population control laws and invalidating the voting rights of those having more than two children.
New proposal to control population in India:
- To control population in India, some are demanding that a family should be virtually exclude from the society and a citizen should be denied his or her basic rights if he or she is born as the third child.
- However, this proposal is contradictory to earlier population policies in India.
What was the earlier population policy in India?
- The National Population Policy (NPP), introduced in 2000, did not impart mandatory enforcement in family planning.
- It suggested for voluntary and informed choice while availing of reproductive health care services along with family planning without any cap on number of children.
What is the stance of government on Population policy?
- The present government supports the idea of voluntary and target free family panning in India.
- Moreover, in 2018, the government proposed ‘lifecycle framework’ to protect the health and nutrition needs of mother and child, till the adolescent stage of child.
- This shows that government is focusing on benefits of demographic dividend to support growth by providing range of services to mother and child rather than denying services.
- As per Economic Survey 2018-19, India is set to witness a sharp slowdown in population growth in the next two decades.
How does this proposal affect poor and weak?
- The number of children a woman has are closely related with the levels of health and education of the parents.
- The poor tend to have more children due to low child survival, high son preference and fulfilment of economic and emotional needs of the family.
- Considering the above fact, the opinion of penalizing third child can convert into a religious conflict adversely affecting poor and the minorities against the more privileged sections.
Relation between Education, Health and Population:
- As per National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16), women in the lowest wealth group have an average of 1.6 more children than women in the highest wealth group.
- Women with no schooling have an average 3.1 children, compared with 1.7 children for women with 12 or more years of schooling.
- States with high population growth have the lowest per capita availability of hospital beds.
- This shows the connections between health, education and inequality with those having little access to health and education leading to more and more children.
Indian Policy perspective on Population growth:
- Indian Policies are focusing on the root cause of the population growth rather than controlling the population directly.
- The National Population Policy, 2000 uses the world ‘control’ just thrice in references to National AIDS Control to decrease mortality rate and provide opportunities to new population.
- This shows that India has looked at population so that it truly becomes a thriving resource of Indian Economy.
- Currently, as many as 23 States and Union Territories, including all the States in the south region, already have fertility below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman showing support rather than control works.
Adverse Implication of excess sterilization during Indian emergency of 1975:
- In September 1976, when civil liberties were suspended, Government initiated a widespread compulsory sterilization programme to limit population growth.
- This sterilization led to 8.3 million sterilisations of which most of them were forced, targeting the poor and underprivileged.
- Men used to be part of the family planning initiatives but after the forced sterilisation, they continue to remain completely out of family planning programmes even today.
- The government now mostly works with woman and child health programmes excluding men.
- Hence, the government should not repeat these mistakes again in the future in the absence of realization of its implications.
History of National Population Policy of India
- In 1946, the Bhore Committee, known as the Health Survey & Development Committee, submitted its Report that became the basis for developing a national population policy.
- This was followed by the launch of the Family Planning Programme in 1952 coinciding with the launch of the nationwide Community Development Programme.
- In 1976, the government issued its first statement regarding the National Population Policy, which was followed by the 1977 Policy Statement on the Family Welfare Programme.
- In 1983, the government adopted the National Health Policy which emphasized the need for ‘securing the small family norm through voluntary efforts and moving towards the goal of population stabilization’.
- While adopting the Health Policy, the Parliament underscored the need for a separate National Population Policy.
- Accordingly, the National Development Council appointed a Committee on Population in 1991 under the chairmanship of Karunakaran recommending the formulation of a National Population Policy.
- Subsequently, an Expert Group headed by M.S. Swaminathan was appointed to prepare the draft of a national population policy. The National Population Policy (NPP) finally came into force in 2000.
Highlights of National Population Policy, 2000:
- To address the unmet needs for basic reproduction (contraception), child health services, supplies and infrastructure (health personnel).
- To make school education up to age 14 free and compulsory and reduce dropouts at primary and secondary school levels to below 20 per cent for both boys and girls.
- To reduce infant mortality rate to below 30 per 1,000 live births.
- To reduce maternal mortality rate to below 100 per 100,000 live births.
- To achieve universal immunization of children against all vaccine preventable diseases.
- To promote delayed marriages for girls, not earlier than age 18 and preferably after 20 years of age.
- To achieve universal access to information/counseling, and services for fertility regulation and contraception with a wide basket of choices.
- To achieve 80 per cent institutional deliveries and 100 per cent deliveries by trained persons.
- To achieve 100 per cent registration of births, deaths, marriages and pregnancies.
- To prevent and control communicable diseases, especially AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- To promote vigorously the small family norm.
- To integrate Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) in the provision of reproductive and child health services, and in reaching out to households.