What is the Right Strategy for Population Control? – UPSC GS1

Context: NFHS-5 data revealed that India’s Total Fertility Rate has declined to 2 from 2.2 of NFHS-4.
Factors that helped India bring down the Total Fertility Rate:
  • Women and their aspirations to plan and manage families have helped reduce the TFR.
  • There are about 16.4 mn abortions every year. This shows that people are taking family planning seriously.
  • Education, particularly women’s education, has helped delay marriage and also imparted knowledge of family planning to women.
  • The efforts put by the government in educating administrators, policymakers in controlling all 3 components of population growth – fertility, mortality and migration has helped bring down the TFR.
Why the decline in TFR does not signal population stabilization? (Prelims Q can be asked on this statement.)
  • Kerala has had low TFR for decades, but it still has a growing population.
  • It is because of population momentum and a large young population. Population momentum is when the population continues to grow and there is no negative growth rate.
Should India adopt coercive population control measures?
  • India should continue with the current policy design.
  • Data from Kerala, TN shows that TFR was controlled without coercive measures.
  • Even if certain states attain a negative growth rate, the migration will still balance the population.
What measures should be taken to balance the population?
  • Focus on providing spacing between children.
  • Focus on girl education and increase the age of marriage.
  • Invest in ageing and improving the health of people.
  • Adopting coercive measures might target one particular community and create disharmony.
  • Propagate and promote temporary sterilization measures.
  • Spread awareness about sterilization measures so that women don’t end up taking all the burden of sterilization.
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