Family planning : India’s population growth halves, but women still shoulder all responsibility

By: | Published: September 27, 2016 6:21 AM

The flux of family planning initiatives and awareness programmes pushed by the government have helped halve India’s population growth rate in the last 40 years—as per the World Bank, it fell from 2.3% in 1977 to 1.2% in 2013.

An Indian Express report, however, makes it clear that women shouldered almost the entire burden of family planning. (Reuters)An Indian Express report, however, makes it clear that women shouldered almost the entire burden of family planning. (Reuters)

The flux of family planning initiatives and awareness programmes pushed by the government have helped halve India’s population growth rate in the last 40 years—as per the World Bank, it fell from 2.3% in 1977 to 1.2% in 2013.

An Indian Express report, however, makes it clear that women shouldered almost the entire burden of family planning. As the health ministry last week announced plans for a targeted population control programme in 145 high fertility districts, data from the report pointed that women constituted 98% of the sterilised population with 40,61,462 sterilisations of the total 41,41,502 done in the last fiscal. Moreover, there was wide variation in the state-wise figures, with Mizoram reporting no vasectomy—the surgical procedure for male sterilisation—Arunachal Pradesh reporting two, and Meghalaya and Nagaland 14 and 15, respectively in FY14.

While awareness programmes are partly to blame for low male sterlisations—these are still less preferred because of a rather popular misconception that vasectomy erodes libido and sexual prowess—data from Rural Health Statistics, 2015, highlights that there also has been a deficit of male health workers at the district level with only 55,657 in position of the required 1,53,655. With the country expected to overtake China in terms of population by 2022—six years earlier than previously predicted—it would do well to dispel some of these myths and balance out the male-female divide.

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