Population Control : Lessons for India from China – UPSC GS1

Utility: Direct question can be asked on topic
Context: China relaxed its two child policy and announced it will now allow three children per married couple.
Concerns of Falling Population:
  • Decreased Labour:
    • When the young population in a country declines, it creates labour shortages, which have a major detrimental impact on the economy.
  • Increased Social Spending:
    • More older people also means that demands for healthcare and pensions can soar, burdening the country’s social spending system further when fewer people are working and contributing to it.
  • Critical for Developing Nations:
    • A problem unique to China, though, is that unlike the other developed countries part of this trend, it is still a middle-income society, despite being the world’s second-largest economy.
    • Prosperous countries like Japan and Germany, which face similar demographic challenges, can depend on investments in factories, technology and foreign assets.
    • China, however, still depends on labour-intensive manufacturing and farming.
    • A drop in demographic dividend could thus hurt China and other developing nations like India more than those in the rich world.
Lessons For India:
  • Avoid Stringent Measures:
    • Stringent population control measures have landed China in a human crisis that was inevitable. If coercive measures like a two-child limit are enforced, India’s situation could be worse.
  • Women Empowerment:
    • The proven ways to lower the fertility rate are to give women the control over their fertility and ensure their greater empowerment through increased access to education, economic opportunities and healthcare.
    • As a matter of fact, China’s fertility reduction is only partly attributable to coercive policies, and is largely because of the sustained investments the country had made in education, health and job opportunities for women.
  • Need to Stabilize Population:
    • India has done very well with its family planning measures and now it is at replacement level fertility of 2.1, which is desirable.
    • It needs to sustain population stabilisation because in some States like Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Kerala and Karnataka, the total fertility rate is way below replacement level, which means it can experience in 30-40 years what China is experiencing now.
India’s Population Growth:
  • India’s population is estimated to be over 1.36 billion as of March 2021, indicating an estimated 12.4% growth over the last decade.
  • That is lower than the 17.7% between 2001 and 2011.
  • However, a 2019 United Nations report had projected India to overtake China as the most populous country by 2027.
  • India is expected to add nearly 273 million people between 2019 and 2050.
Indian Measures for Population Control:
  • Prime Minister’s Appeal: During his Independence Day Speech in 2019, the Prime Minister appealed to the country that population control was a form of patriotism.
  • Mission Parivar Vikas: The Government launched Mission Parivar Vikas in 2017 for substantially increasing access to contraceptives and family planning services in 146 high fertility districts.
  • Compensation Scheme for Sterilization Acceptors: Under the scheme, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provides compensation for loss of wages to the beneficiary and also to the service provider (& team) for conducting sterilizations from the year 2014.
  • National Family Planning Indemnity Scheme (NFPIS) : This scheme was launched in the year 2005. Under this scheme, clients are insured in the eventualities of death, complication and failure following sterilization.
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