Family Planning and Population Stabilization in India

New Delhi, India — A recent meeting of Consultative Committee of Parliament attached to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on Family Planning and Population Stabilisation, held in New Delhi discussed various issues on Family Planning and Population Stabilization.

Honourable Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare HE Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, presided over the meeting.

HE Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, is also the Chairperson of Partners in Population and Development, an intergovernmental organization of 25 developing countries, promoting South to South Cooperation in areas of family planning, population stabilisation, reproductive health and rights, gender equity, addressing the challenges of population dynamics and implementing the program of action evolved out of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

In his opening remarks, Mr. Azad said since the day he assumed the charge as Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, he had been advocating about population stabilisation. In fact in his initiative, Lok Sabha discussed the issue of Population stabilization in August 2010 after a gap of 34 years.

He expressed his happiness that he had been able to bring back the focus on family planning and population stabilization which has become a central part of our efforts to ensure Universal Access to Health at present.

He said population stabilization and sustainable development are critical determinants of human development and improvement in the quality of life. During the last century, the population of India has increased from 23.8 crores in 1901 to 121 crores in 2011.

There has been a sharp decline in growth rate from 21.54 %  in 1990-2000 to 17.64 % during 2001-11. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has come down from 6 in 1951 to 2.4 in 2011.

With a view to achieve Population Stabilization, Government of India adopted a National Population Policy (NPP) in 2000 which envisaged the goal of population stabilization by 2045.

As per the population projections based on Report of the Technical Group on Population Projection of Registrar General of India (RGI) 2006, 59.6% of population growth by 2026 will come from 9 high fertility States, namely UP, Bihar, MP, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Haryana, Assam and Chhattisgarh with UP alone accounting for 22% of the share and the four southern states, will contribute to about 12.6% of total increase.

Mr.  Azad said Central Government has introduced several initiatives to encourage people for adopting small family norm. Contraceptives have been made available at the doorstep through 8.6 lakh ASHAs who are going from house to house in rural India distributing contraceptives now.

ASHA workers have been trained to provide counselling support to couples for delaying the birth of their first child following marriage by two years and promote healthy spacing between first and second child of at least three years.

Government has established the Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) or National Population Stabilization Fund to accelerate on-going efforts towards population stabilization. JSK is expected to catalyse a civil society movement in favour of reproductive and child health rights.

With the implementation of NRHM substantial improvements have been made in terms of availability of human resources and drugs and services. Adequate educational and vocational training opportunities for girls should be provided to prevent early marriage and multiple pregnancies especially in the nine adversely affected states.

A Two-Day Seminar on Population Stabilization will be held in July coinciding with World Population Day, Mr. Azad added.

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