Population Control: Policy Imperatives: RSTV - Big Picture
Anchor: Vishal Dahiya
- Dr. S. K. Singh, Professor, Department of Mathematical & Demography & Statistics, IIPS
- Abhinav Prakash, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Delhi
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has recently inaugurated the state’s Population Policy 2021-2030 which sets certain targets for population control.Need for such a policy:
The new policy aims to:
- According to ‘The World Population Prospects 2019’ published by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country by 2027.
- Poor health indicators in India are causing a decline in human capital. Angus Deaton wrote in 2017 that while India aspires to be a global leader and change agent, more than one-third of her children are still “abnormally skinny and abnormally short”. The World Bank had earlier shared concerns that with 40% of India’s workforce having been stunted as children, the country is simply not going to be able to compete in the future economy.
- India loses up to 4% of its GDP and 8% of its productivity annually due to child malnutrition.
- Decrease the Total Fertility Rate from 2.7 to 2.1 by 2026 and 1.7 by 2030;
- Increase Modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate from 31.7 to 45 by 2026 and 52 by 2030;
- Increase male methods of contraception use from 10.8 to 15.1 by 2026 and 16.4 by 2030;
- Decrease Maternal Mortality Rate from 197 to 150 to 98 and Infant Mortality Rate from 43 to 32 to 22;
- Decrease Under 5 Infant Mortality Rate from 47 to 35 to 25;
- Increase the life expectancy from 64.3 to 69 by 2030 and child sex ratio (0-6 years) from 899 to 919 by 2030.
Targeting population stabilization, the draft of the policy also said the state would attempt to maintain a balance of population among the various communities. Awareness and extensive programs would be held among those communities, cadres, and geographical areas that have a higher fertility rate.Draft Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Bill, 2021
The Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission has prepared a proposed draft Bill for population control, under which a two-child norm will be implemented and promoted.
After the law comes into force, a person with more than two children will be debarred from several benefits such as government-sponsored welfare schemes and from contesting elections to the local authority or any body of the local self-government, the draft says. Ration card units will be limited to four persons.India’s national-level policy – National Population Policy (NPP) 2000
A person contravening the law will also become ineligible to apply for State government jobs and be barred from promotion in government services and any kind of subsidy.
The immediate objective of the NPP 2000 is to address the unmet needs for contraception, health care infrastructure, and health personnel, and to provide integrated service delivery for basic reproductive and child health care. The medium-term objective is to bring the TFR to replacement levels by 2010, through vigorous implementation of inter-sectoral operational strategies. The long-term objective is to achieve a stable population by 2045, at a level consistent with the requirements of sustainable economic growth, social development, and environmental protection.Benefits of the new policy:
- If there is no gap between the birth of two children, then naturally it will impair the health of both the mother and the child.
- The economy is already under stress and as the number of dependents increase, there is enhanced fiscal burden on the state exchequer.
- According to the UP CM, an increasing population can be an obstacle to development.
- Population stabilization measures could help India reach its SDG targets.
- A coercive and top-bottom policy like China’s 2-child norm (which replaced its 1-child norm in 2016) is harmful in the long run. So, population control measures should be soft and a camp-based approach like the one seen in the 1970s shouldn’t be repeated.
- Just reaching fertility replacement levels isn’t sufficient because the population momentum will keep increasing the population. Thus holistic steps need to be taken to check the momentum growth of the population.
- More focus needs to be paid to enhancing the quality of life of the present population so that our demographic dividend doesn’t turn into a demographic disaster.
- Special focus needs to be on the groups where fertility ratios are beyond the national average.
- Information Education Communication – Behaviour Change Communication (IEC-BCC) should be an important component for a long-lasting attitudinal change via providing incentives to both the targeted person and the intermediary (ASHA workers).