Won’t impose coercive steps to control population, govt tells SC

In News

  • In its response to a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court, the Government of India said that it won’t impose coercive steps to control population.

Background: PIL on population control

  • A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court asking the court to give directions to the government of India to frame a law on population control and family planning.
  • The PIL observed that population explosion in India is a major cause of poverty, criminal activity and distorted development.
  • It suggested that a population control law, based on the model of China, is urgently required in India.

News Summary:

  • In its response to the PIL, the Government of India said that it won’t impose coercive steps to control population.

Declining fertility rate in India towards replacement level

  • The Centre told the Supreme Court that India is close to achieving a replacement level of fertility rate of 2.1 by 2025, through various voluntary birth control measures.
    • Note: The National Population Policy, 2000 also aims to achieve replacement level fertility.
  • It noted that India is witnessing a constant decline in the total fertility rate or TFR (average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime). India’s TFR was 3.2 in the year 2000 compared to 2.2 in 2018.
  • As many as 25 out of 36 states/UTs have already achieved the “replacement level fertility” of 2.1 or less.
  • As per the Census, 2001-11 is the first decade in the last 100 years which has added lesser population as compared to the previous one.
  • The 2001-11 decade also registered the sharpest decline in the decadal growth rate, from 21.5% in 1991-2000 to 17.6% in 2001-11.
  • However, 146 districts in seven states — UP (57), Bihar (37), Rajasthan (14), Madhya Pradesh (25), Chhattisgarh (2) Jharkhand (9) and Assam (2) — have shown TFR of 3 and above. These seven states account for 44% of the country’s population.

About: Replacement level of fertility rate

  • Replacement level fertility is the level of fertility at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next.
  • This rate is roughly 1 children per woman for most countries, although it may vary with mortality rates (death rates).

About: National Population Policy 2000

  • The National Population Policy formulated in the year 2000, shows the government’s commitment to address the issues of contraception, maternal health and child survival.
  • It aims to achieve a replacement level of fertility through voluntary and informed choice and a target free approach.
  • The National Family Planning Programme of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is guided by the National Population Policy 2000.                                          

Objectives of NPP 2000:

  • Address the unmet needs for basic reproductive and child health services, supplies and infrastructure.
  • It aimed to bring the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) to replacement levels by 2010, through implementation of various strategies.
  • The long-term objectiveis to achieve a stable population by 2045, at a level consistent with the requirements of sustainable economic growth, social development, and environmental protection.

Goals of the NPP 2000:

  • Reduce infant mortality rate to below 30 per 1000 live births.
  • Reduce maternal mortality ratio to below 100 per 100,000 live births.
  • Achieve universal immunization of children against all vaccine preventablediseases.
  • Make school education up to age 14 free and compulsory, and reduce drop outs at primary and secondary school levels to below 20 percent for both boys and girls.
  • Promote delayed marriage for girls, not earlier than age 18 and preferably after 
20 years of age.
  • Achieve 80 percent institutional deliveries and 100 percent deliveries by trained persons.
  • Achieve 100 per cent registration of births, deaths, marriage and pregnancy.
  • Achieve universal access to information/counselling, and services for fertility regulation and contraception with a number of choices.

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