Population Control – UPSC GS1

According to a recent release by Census 2011, Indians are now getting married at a higher age than a decade ago and a decline in fertility has also been observed. Discuss the causes and consequences of this trend. (200 Words)
Census data shows that mean age for marriage has increased 18.3 to 19.3 years for female and 22.6 to 23.3 years for males, fertility had declined [from 2.5 to 2.2] for all age groups in the last decade.
Causes for higher age of marriage:
  1. Increased focus on Higher Education which takes greater time
  2. More career oriented both Women and Men.
  3. Women Having facility of egg freeze (oocyte cryopreservation), in order to delay the Pregnancy till they get stabilised in jobs
  4. People Moving to other Institutions Like Live- In and then later to marriages. People prefer ascertaining compatibility before marriage.
  5. Globalisation has also affected the family and relationship
  6. Child marriage act and efforts of NGOs to stop early marriage.
Causes for decline of TFR:
  1. Spread of education and desire for better quality of life
  2. Easy access to safe and effective contraceptive techniques and dilution of social stigma over use of same
  3. Govt programmes, spreading awareness with campaigns like chota pariwar, sukhi parivar
  4. Legislations like child marriage. Late marriages have led to decrease in TFR.
  5. The high costs for child care and education
Consequences of both:
  1. Better education and enhanced quality of life. It is both a cause and consequence
  2. Higher productivity in work life
  3. Increasing age of marriage has led to more reasonable decision making in conjugal discourse. Married couple would be emotionally matured.
  4. It’s good for coming generation as the parents are mature enough to shape the future of their children’s in right direction
  5. Population growth stabilising
  6. Due to late marriages (not too late), MMR and IMR are declining.
  7. Demographic transition
  8. Gender equality will be achieved.
  9. Parents have more time to work and earn, increasing spending power, creating demand which stimulates production and jobs
  10. Possible decrease in child sex ratio


India is moving towards third stage of demographic transition i.e. replacement-level fertility. Discuss. What measures can be adopted by government to stabilize the population at a faster pace? What are the reasons behind difference in fertility rates across the states? (200 Words)
Replacement level of Fertility is total fertility rate at which women would be replacing herself and her partner in long term and thereby whole nation’s women would be replacing nation’s population. Thereby leading to theoretically zero population growth.
No. of children attaining 15 years of age only considered as fertility of women.  Hence in most developed nation 2.1 is the Replacement level of fertility for adjusting child mortality rate.
Measures that can be adopted by government to stabilise population at faster pace:
  • Lower child mortality rate as fast as possible because in rural areas still people opt for larger family size as they believe some children will die before reaching teenage.
  • Better health care for mothers to decrease maternal mortality. Setting up better obstetric facilities.
  • Mechanising agriculture, increasing productivity of agriculture and shifting more people out of agriculture. Because in rural areas, poor family opt for larger family so as to get helping hand in agriculture. It also leads to disguised unemployment.
  • Spreading awareness about small family through Aagan badi, ASHA, ASHOK, panchayat. Encouraging people to go for tubectomy and vasectomy at right age. Making such surgery clean and efficient (in backdrop of CG mishap during sterilisation operation.)
Reasons for difference in Fertility rate across states:
  • Difference in culture, religion and economic engagement across state. Kerala has lesser farmers so smaller family.
  • Education difference. Education expansion leads to choice for smaller family.
  • Better medical facility leads to smaller family and lesser maternal/infant mortality.
  • Government intention to address population.
Population is vicious cycle which depends on awareness and medical facility. Better medical care leads to lesser mortality means family reaches desired size in lesser time which means better education for children and better money management for family and again it comes to smaller family. Absence of anyone leads to population growth at faster pace.

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