World Population Day: no need for population control law, people themselves support small families: expert – no need for population control law, these policies have had negative consequences: expert

New Delhi: Today is World Population Day. The world’s population has reached eight billion. That is why the motto of Population Day is “Eight Billion People: Towards a Resilient Future for All: Seizing Opportunities and Ensuring Rights and Options for All.” In terms of population, India ranks second in the world with a population of 1.35 billion. Five questions and answers from Poonam Mutreja, Executive Director of the Population Foundation of India, on the issues of population control law and family care and planning of the elderly population.

Question 1: How did the population come to be seen as a problem for a country with a great geography and a resource-rich country like India? Where have we gone wrong politically?

Answer: India is one of the most populous countries in the world and here in 1952 the first nationwide population program was also introduced. Also, the people here have always been very aware of the issue of the population. In the 1950s and 1960s, the government promoted the adoption of family planning by the people. Its main goal was to raise awareness in the country about health and family planning.

During the emergence of the 1970s, various campaigns were carried out such as the forced sterilization of men in India, which proved to be an important turning point in the country’s approach to family planning. Brutal stories of sterilization or forced sterilization came to the fore. The topic of family planning had long been at the bottom of the government’s list of priorities. Subsequently, female sterilization became the main method of contraception in the 1980s due to the hesitation of male sterilization. Despite better knowledge on the subject of family planning in a progressive country, some myths and misconceptions still exist today.

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Question 2: Some states talk about population control policy and are moving towards its implementation, while how will we see this political contradiction between the Center and the states?

Answer: Many policymakers in different states have misquoted concerns about the “population explosion” and the need for “population control.” For example, the state of Assam had decided to adopt a “two children” policy in 2021. According to the state government, families with more than two children will not be able to benefit from specific government programs. According to the National Family Health Survey-Five (NFHS) 2019-2021, the total fertility rate (TFR) (average number of children born to each woman) in Assam is 1.9 percent, which is lower than the national average, while the NFHS-Five In Assam, 77% of married couples in the 15-49 age group are women and 63% of men do not want more children. This shows that even without a population policy, men and women want smaller families. States should consider other contraceptive options, including long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), especially given the large population of adolescents and young people.

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Question 3: Right now India is called a country of youth, but after a while a large part of the population will be elderly. Do we have enough preparation for this level, especially when it comes to Social Security?

Answer: Population growth in India is expected to stabilize before reaching projected levels over the next 12 years. The elderly population in India is projected to grow as a proportion of the total population by 12% by 2025. According to a report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the large population of the southern states and the west will reach 19.92 million in 2030 and will almost double compared to today. Every fifth Indian will be big by the year 2050. Therefore, priority should be given to programs related to health and economic security for this population.

This increase in the large population will pose social and financial challenges. This requires building a solid health care system for the shift towards old age care. In 2007, the Parliament of India passed the “Bill on the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and the Elderly”, which stipulates that the maintenance of parents or the elderly by children or the elderly is mandatory. relatives. Criminal provisions were also prescribed for her rape. The ‘National Policy for the Elderly 2011’ recognizes the elderly as a valuable resource for the country and ensures their full participation in society.

Question 4: Has there been any change in the population change rate due to the crown pandemic?

Answer: Demographic changes take a long time to occur. Demographic change can take decades to occur. Comprehensive data are also available only after the census is taken every ten years. There is currently little evidence to attribute demographic change to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, it is difficult to say what kind of impact the pandemic may have on the total population.

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Question 5: Currently, there are population control laws in 11 states. What changes need to be made to the new law?

Answer: As stated above, there is no need for a “population control” law in any Indian state. States should see their population as an asset rather than a liability. There is ample evidence that force-induced policies have had negative consequences. A study “Rule of Two Children in Panchayats – Implications, Consequences and Experience” conducted in five states (Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha, Rajasthan) by former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Nirmala Buch found that there was an increase in selective and unsafe abortions in states that adopted the two-child policy. Men divorce their wives to run in local government elections and families leave children in foster homes for adoption to avoid being disqualified.

Global evidence shows that incentive and discouragement policies do not work. India will have to focus on a rights-based approach to family planning, which it committed to, along with other governments in 179 countries, at the 1994 International Conference on Population Development (ICPD). Married couples should be helped to make their own positive reproductive choices by strengthening family planning and development programs. Governments at all levels need to spend more on health care, provide comprehensive sex education, and sexual and reproductive health services. We need to invest in specialized education, generate livelihood opportunities for men and women.

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