New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his I-Day speech raised the issue of uncontrolled population growth and its consequences for the country.
Expressing his concern on challenges that the growing population may pose, PM Modi in his speech said, “We cannot think of an unhealthy society, we cannot think of an uneducated society. Neither the home nor the country can be happy.”
According to media reports, a national policy on family planning will soon be unveiled.
“First meetings between officials of the Prime Minister’s Office and Aayog are being planned to discuss how to take the matter forward” a top source Niti Ayog said.
Officials with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare suggested different ways to encourage the public about family planning through both incentives or disincentives.
This isn’t the first time in the history of independent India when a government has tried to control the population. A similar fear led to the government to launch a family planning scheme in 1951, making India the first country in the world to launch a state-sponsored program for population control.
India is slated to be the most populous nation by the turn of the next decade with the population swelling to 1,452 million in 2025.
It is currently in the third stage of demographic transition where birth rates are falling but the population continues to grow as 51% is in the reproductive age group.
The government should also focus on health and reproductive rights of women, and maintaining an emphasis on population explosion at a time like this could potentially lead to women being reduced to beneficiaries of the system, and women’s rights to choose a contraceptive method reduced to yearly targets.
A demographic report in the Economic Survey also advises policymakers that they should start preparing for an ageing population as this will need investments in healthcare as well as a plan for increasing the retirement age in a phased manner.
Authored by Roshan Bint Raheem