The National Population Policy, introduced on February 15, 2000, aimed to tackle India’s challenges related to reproductive and child health, with a goal of achieving the desired Total Fertility Rate (TFR) by 2010. The main focus of the policy was to address issues concerning the well-being of mothers, the survival of children, and the use of contraception. Additionally, it aimed to enhance the availability and affordability of reproductive healthcare services for all.
|Must Read Blogs
|Population and Its Impact on the Environment: A Matter of Consumption
|Problems of Soil
|Healthcare Sector in India
|World Population Day 2023
|Population: Boon or Bane
The National Population Policy 2000 (NPP 2000) highlights the government’s dedication to letting people freely make choices about their reproductive health care. It emphasizes the importance of residents making informed decisions and giving their consent when using these services.
- The approach here is to provide family planning services without setting specific targets. The idea is to cater to the needs of families without imposing rigid goals.
- The goal is to tackle the challenges related to India’s population, especially concerning reproductive and child health. The National Population Policy of 2000 outlines a strategy to achieve the desired Total Fertility Rate (TFR) by 2010.
- The plan involves a collaborative effort between the government, businesses, and non-governmental organizations. The aim is to work together to increase awareness and access to a comprehensive range of reproductive and pediatric health services. Additionally, the focus is on promoting issues like child survival, maternal health, and contraception.
- The main focus of the National Population Policy (NPP) is to meet the unfulfilled requirements in healthcare infrastructure, services for people, and contraception.
- The NPP aims to provide a range of services, especially in primary reproductive and pediatric healthcare, ensuring a holistic approach to healthcare.
- Using collaborative strategies across different sectors, the plan is to increase the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) to replacement levels (TFR of 2.1) within the next few years.
- Looking ahead, the ultimate objective is to stabilize the population by 2045. This involves balancing the needs of societal development, environmental preservation, and sustainable economic growth.
i) – Ensure free and compulsory education up to age 14
- Reduce infant mortality rate below 30 per 1000 live births
- Achieve universal immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases
- Promote delayed marriage for girls
- Make family welfare people-centric
ii) – NPP 200 emphasizes the well-being of the adolescent population.
iii) – Safeguard adolescents from unwanted pregnancies and STDs
- Educate them about the risks of unprotected sex
iv) – Provide accessible and affordable contraceptive services
- Offer food supplements and nutritional services
- Strengthen legal measures to prevent child marriage.
Family Planning and Social Welfare:
- Promote the preference for limited families.
- Converge all related social welfare programs to focus on individual needs in family planning and assistance.
Government Schemes for Population Control in India
Various measures have been taken to control the population of India in the five-year plans, which are as follows:
First Five-Year Plan (1951-1956): India kicked off its initial state-funded family planning program in 1951, setting a groundbreaking example among developing nations. The focus was on natural family planning methods.
Second Five-Year Plan (1956-1961): The number of family planning clinics increased significantly during this period. However, since most were concentrated in urban areas, the results fell short of expectations.
Third Five-Year Plan (1961-1966): Introducing the copper-T method, this plan also saw the establishment of a separate family planning department.
Fourth Five-Year Plan (1969-1974): The promotion of both traditional and modern birth control methods was a key feature of this plan.
Fifth Five-Year Plan (1974-1979): In 1976, India announced a national population policy. The plan aimed to boost female literacy, enhance awareness through various media, and initially allowed forced sterilization, which was later prohibited.
Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Plans (1980s): These plans focused on identifying long-term demographic goals to regulate the population.
Ninth Five-Year Plan (1997-2002): In 1993, an expert panel led by MS Swaminathan was organized to develop a national population policy. The family welfare program was rebranded as the family planning program in 1997.
Aim of National Population Policy 2000
The national population policy in India has set various goals that can be grouped into short-term, medium-term, and long-term objectives.
Short-term goal: We’re focusing on making contraceptives easily available for everyone. This means hiring more healthcare professionals and setting up a solid health protection plan.
Medium-term goal: Before 2010, we aimed to bring down the total fertility rate to 2.1, which is the level needed to replace the current population.
Long-term goal: Looking ahead to 2045, our big picture goal is to maintain a balanced population. We want a level that supports economic, social, and environmental well-being, ensuring growth and safety for everyone.
Need for New Population Policy of India
India reached a population of 100 crores on May 11, 2000, and if the current trend continues, it is expected to surpass China as the world’s most populated country by 2045. The population of India increased more than fivefold in the 20th century, starting from 200 million. During the same period, the global population nearly tripled from 200 million to 600 million.
Dealing with the current annual population growth of 1.55 crore poses a significant challenge in maintaining a balance to protect the country’s resources and the environment. To promote sustainable development with a more equitable distribution, it is crucial to stabilize the population. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a new population policy in India.
Problems with National Population Policy 2000
Impact on the Poorest: The National Population Policy, despite its positive changes, seems to disadvantage poorer communities. This is because they tend to have more children compared to the middle class, making the strategy appear anti-poor.
Freedom of Choice: The policy has faced criticism for being undemocratic as it restricts citizens’ freedom of choice and their sexual and reproductive liberties. Critics argue that individuals should have the right to decide the size of their families.
Socio-Economic Factors: Regions with high socio-economic challenges, such as infant and child mortality, often experience higher birth rates. This implies that addressing socio-economic issues might be more effective in controlling population growth than the current policy.
Population Explosion Myth: Contrary to the belief in a “population explosion,” data from the National Family Health Survey and Census indicate that India is not in imminent danger. The Total Fertility Rate has already surpassed replacement levels in many states and urban areas.
Two-Child Rule Challenges: The two-child rule raises concerns, especially if the first two children are female. This might lead to an increase in female infanticide as parents may prefer male offspring, putting the lives of female children at risk.
Long-Term Consequences: Population control measures might create difficulties in the future. Exclusionary laws may not effectively address the root causes of population issues, potentially leading to complications down the road.
NHRC Condemnation: The National Human Rights Commission has criticized the incentives/disincentives strategy. Several states, including Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa, faced condemnation when they introduced such measures in the 1990s and 2000s.
Global Lessons: Instances from other countries with harsh population control policies, like China, serve as cautionary tales. China’s preference for male offspring resulted in a significant gender imbalance, highlighting the potential unintended consequences of such strategies.
Read Also: Western Ghats – UPSC