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Essay on Family Planning Programme in India

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In this essay we will discuss about Family Planning Programme in India. After reading this essay you will learn about: 1. Meaning of Family Planning Programme 2. Impact of Family Planning Programme on the Population Growth of India 3. Importance 4. Obstacles 5. Suggestions.

Contents:

  1. Essay on the Meaning of Family Planning Programme
  2. Essay on the Impact of Family Planning Programme on the Population Growth of India
  3. Essay on the Importance of Family Planning Programme
  4. Essay on the Obstacles in the Path of Implementing Family Planning Programme
  5. Essay on the Suggestions for the Family Planning Programme

1. Essay on the Meaning of Family Planning Programme:

Since the inception of planning, the family planning programme has been introduced in India so as to control the rapid growth of population by resorting to family planning methods. The family planning programme which is an integral part of our national population policy covers schemes of education, health, child care, birth control, family welfare, women’s’ right and nutrition.

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The term family planning here indicates conscious limitation of the size of the family to the optimum level by adopting voluntary approach. The small size of family necessarily paves the way for the improvement of its standard of living. Therefore, by the term family planning we mean, “to have children by choice and not by chance, by design and not by accident.”

Therefore, the main thrust of the family planning programme is the conscious acceptance of small family norm and proper spacing of the children. In recent times, the Government has renamed the scheme as Family Welfare Programme.

In keeping with the democratic traditions of the country, the family welfare programme seeks to promote the small family norm and reproduction and child health through free and voluntary choice.


2. Essay on the Impact of Family Planning Programme on the Population Growth of India:

Family welfare programme includes conscious family limitation, where babies will born by choice not by chance and maintenance of family welfare at an optimum level by providing sound health and sanitation facilities.

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Family welfare programme is geared up throughout the country along with other development programme so as to contain the rate of growth of population along with maintaining minimum health and sanitation facilities.

Broadly speaking, the family planning programme adopts three methods:

(i) Sterilisation (providing full protection),

(ii) I.U.D. insertion (providing 95 per cent protection) and

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(iii) Regular use of oral pills (providing full protection) along with regular use of conventional contraceptives (which normally provide 50 per cent protection).

In India, the sterilisation drive has been facing a sharp fluctuation in its achievement. Table 6.12(b) reveals that the total number of people accepting and performing sterilisation as a family planning method has increased from 1.33 million in 1970-71 to 3.12 million in 1972-73 and then it slid down to only 0.94 million in 1973-74.

Under the blanket cover of emergency, sterilisation drive was launched ruthlessly and thereby its number swelled suddenly to 8.26 million during 1976-77.

Acceptance and Performance of Sterilisations

But after a high profit of such ruthless drive and the defeat of the Congress (I) Government in 1977 General Election on this issue, the Family Planning Department folded the network of this programme and the number of sterilisations declined sharply to only 0. 95 million in 1977-78.

But after 1978-79, the acceptance of sterilisation as a family planning method has maintained an increasing trend from 1.8 million in 1978-79 to 2.79 in 1981-82 and then to 4.90 million m 1985-86.

In recent years, the number of sterilisations performed has also maintained a stability as the number varied from 4.09 million in 1991-92 to 4.49 million in 1993-94 and then to 4.34 million in 1994-95.

Moreover, the percentage of couples protected effectively by different methods has been increasing over time. Table 6.13 reveals this definite trend.

Percentage of Eligible Couples

Table 6.13 reveals that the percentage of eligible couple protected effectively has increased from 10.4 per cent in 1970-71 to 23.7 per cent in 1981-82. Again this couple protection rate (CPR) has further increased to 44.1 per cent in 1990-91 and then to 48.2 per cent in 1998-99.

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This increasing trend in couple protection rate has also led to a fall in the birth rate at a slower rate, i.e., from 36.9 per thousand in 1970-71 to 33.0 per thousand in 1976-77 and to 32.7 per thousand in 1984-85 and then to 25.8 per thousand in 1998-99.

Moreover, there is a female bias in respect of acceptance and performance of sterilisation programme in India as the number of male sterilisation is much less than that of female sterilisation. In 1994-95, total number of female sterilisation (Tubectomy) cases performed was 42.07 lakh as compared to that only 1.17 lakh male sterilisation (Vasectomy) performed in the same year.

Thus this acute gender inequity is also standing in the path of achievement of family planning programme. So in order to attain the desired level of success, the male must be made to share the burden of family planning equally with the eligible female population of the country.

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Besides, non-family planning measures like raising the age of marriage, reducing the proportion of married female to total females in the age group of 15-44 etc. are also playing an important role in reducing the birth rate of the population.

In India, the proportion of married females in the age group 15-44 has declined from 85.75 per cent in 1961 to 80.48 per cent in 1981 and it is estimated that the same proportion may come down to 77.1 per cent in 1991 and then to 73.6 per cent in 2001.

Although the family planning programme has not been able to attain the desirable rate of success but these various policies and programmes adopted in this direction have helped containing population growth. The Total Fertility Rate, a measure of the average number of children born to a woman during her reproductive period has dropped from 5.2 in 1971 to 3.1 in 2001.

The crude birth rate has come down from 41.2 per thousand populations in 1971 to 25.0 per thousand in 2002 as per the estimates of Sample Registration System (SRS).

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The crude death rate has also declined from 19 per thousand populations to 8.1 per thousand over the same period. Infant mortality rate has also declined from 129 per thousand live births in 1971 to 63 per thousand in 2002. The annual population growth rate works out at 1.93 per cent during 1991-2001, which is marginally lower than that of 2.22 per cent during 1981-91.

However, it is a tragedy that the National Population Policy, 2000 is incapable of meeting the inherent demographic requirements of the new economic policy of the country. The NPP 2000 has refused to recognise the fact that voluntary family planning programmes over the last five decades have failed to control the excessive population growth of the country.

As per the last National Family Health Survey held in 1998-99, it is found that only about 48.2 per cent of couples in India used any modern contraceptive and there again about three-fourths of these couples adopted sterilisation which is not of much use as it is known to us that mostly couples get themselves sterilised only after having two sons, that is, on an average three to four children.

It is no wonder that under such a situation the population growth rate of India has been abysmally slow, i.e., from 2.14 per cent per year during 1981-91 to 1.93 per cent per year during 1991-2001, which reflects a decline of only 10 per cent over a decade.

Thus it is found that in spite of India being one of the foremost countries to institute a national family planning programme as early as in 1951 the country has dismally failed to achieve the purpose till date. In contrast, the European countries where, too large families were as common as in India took the initiative much later but achieved considerable success much earlier.

There were two most important reasons behind this success. Firstly, they had the firm determination that children should not only be physically strong but also well educated or, at least, well trained in the specialised skills required for maintaining a productive career.

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Secondly, they had the awareness that high cost of modern education and professional training must be maintained to make it possible for parents to support large families. It is the failure of India to catch up and pursue these two above-noted European guideposts that has pushed the country much behind the required achievement in demographic goal.

The socio political factors which are largely responsible for this failure of family planning programme in India include:

(i) Male child preference;

(ii) Politics of caste and communal vote banks;

(iii) Religious fundamentalism;

(iv) Male non co-operation in family planning; and

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(v) Political apathy.

All these can be considered as the socio-political hurdles in the path of the success of population control programmes in India. So, it is wrong to insist that literacy, health care and poverty alleviation would check our population growth.

Recent Strategy:

In recent years, serious efforts were made by the Government towards the implementation of the strategy of population control and family welfare. Considerable progress has also been achieved in the socio-demographic parameters over the last two decades. However, the country continues to lag behind several other countries in the region. The following table reflects over the situation in this regard.

The National Population Policy, 2000 aims at achieving net replacement levels of total fertility rate by 2010 through vigorous implementation of inter-sectoral operational strategies. The long term objective is to achieve population stabilization by 2045 at a level consistent with the requirements of sustainable economic growth, social development and environment protection.

India's Global Position

Under the mandate of NCMP of the Government, the expenditure in the health sector is proposed to increase from 0.9 per cent of GDP to 2.3 per cent of GDP over the next five years. In order to augment health care services in rural areas of the country, a National Rural Health Mission has been conceptualized and is announced in 2005-06 Union Budget.

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The National Rural Health Mission (2005-09) covered the whole country with special focus on 18 states which have either weak socio-demographic indicators and/or primary health infrastructure. These states are UP, MP, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Uttaranchal, North Eastern States, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

A Reproductive and Child Health Programme is commenced from April 2005 for a five year period. This encompasses the entire National Family Welfare Programme and is based on decentralized planning. The programme will be funded by the Central Government with partial funding support by World Bank, DFID and UNFPA as pooled financing.

USAID and European Union are the other development partners supporting the programme from outside the pool and UNICEF and WHO will be providing technical assistance for the programme.


3. Essay on the Importance of Family Planning Programme:

In an over-populated and underdeveloped country like India, the family planning or the family welfare programme has a special significance. The individual, family as well as the society as a whole are benefitted by the measures of family planning.

The following are the importance of family planning:

(i) Reducing the Growth Rate of Population:

The first and foremost importance of family planning is to reduce the rate of growth of population to a considerable extent. By introducing and popularising various birth control devices, the rate of growth of population can be controlled to a considerable extent.

(ii) Benefit to the Entire Nation:

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The family planning is beneficial to the entire nation as the reduction in the rate of growth of population can pave the way for increase in the level of per capita income and also its standard of living. This will create scope for better employment facilities, better education and health facilities leading to a qualitative change for the betterment of life styles of the people of the country, in general.

(iii) Child Survival: 

The family welfare programme introduced in India has its importance on raising prospect of child survival by reducing the child mortality rate. This programme has been creating an environment where the children will be better fed, better cared and well looked after.

The first pragmatic initiative undertaken during the last two years of the Eighth Plan is the reorganisation of the Child Survival and Safe Motherhood and related programmes into the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) package of programmes.

A provision of Rs 450 crore has been made in 1997-98 (RE) or RCH scheme. Again the Pulse Polio immunisation has been continued for the third year during 1997-98 targeting children in the age group 0-5 years.

(iv) Safe Motherhood:

Family welfare programme has made provision for safe motherhood and thereby it has a special importance in raising the level of health facilities along with better pre-natal and post-natal care. Moreover, the family planning measures in the form of birth control devices has helped the mothers from unwanted pregnancy.

(v) Social Improvement:

The family welfare programme is considered to be very much beneficial both to an individual as well as to the society as a whole. The family planning will create favourable condition for the improvement in the standard of living and better health facilities for the people in general, leading to improvement in society.


4. Essay on the Obstacles in the Path of Implementing Family Planning Programme:

Although family planning programmes are gradually becoming popular among the people of India but there are some obstacles in its path.

Following are some of the obstacles in the path of implementing family planning programme:

(i) Illiteracy:

Wide spread illiteracy particularly in the rural areas is creating hurdles in the path of implementation of family planning programmes. Due to widespread illiteracy and lack of consciousness a good number of populations does not realise the importance of family planning measures and also of the small family norms.

(ii) Poverty:

Widespread poverty in India is a serious hurdle in the path of implementing family planning measure. Poor people prefer more children in their family as they have a misconception that greater; number of children would become an asset in their old age as they think that increasing number of children are expected to support the increasing income for the family.

(iii) Religious Opposition:

A sizeable section of the population of the country opposes the family planning measures as they consider the family planning as against the religious norms and an immoral act.

(iv) Fatalism:

Fatalism prevails upon the sizeable section of people of India. They consider the birth of child as a gift of god and accept the birth as a chance and not by choice. They do not accept the importance of family planning.

(v) Inadequacy of Cheap and Effective Methods:

The country is suffering from inadequacy of cheap and effective methods of birth control. This is mostly resulted from inadequacy of research on birth control.

(vi) Lack of Finance:

The family planning programme and the movement of population control has failed to cover entire areas due to lack of finances. In order to spread the message of family planning programme and also to implement the programmes sufficient funds are required. But the required amount of funds is not available for the implementation of the programme.

(vii) Shortage of Trained Staff:

The country is facing the problem of shortage of trained staff for the implementation of family planning programmes. The country is maintaining on an average two doctors for every 10 thousand population. Thus the poor performance of the family planning programme is mostly resulted from the shortage of trained staff.

(viii) Lack of Publicity:

Family planning programme in India is suffering from lack of publicity. Although nearly 70 per cent of the total population of the country are living in rural areas but there are gaps in imparting knowledge and information related to family planning particularly in the rural areas.

(ix) Lack of Motivation:

There is lack of motivation on the part of family planning programme staff to motivate the people for adopting family planning or birth control devices so as to accept the small family norms.


5. Essay on the Suggestions for the Family Welfare Programme:

Following are some of the important suggestions that can be normally advanced are achieving further success in the implementation of family planning programme:

(i) The family welfare programme be completely integrated and co-ordinated alongwith the public health measures.

(ii) Enrolment of more sincere, experienced and sympathetic personnel for the implementation of the programme.

(iii) Increasing production and free distribution of contraceptives among the poor people.

(iv) Raising the age of marriage for both sex through both legal and social sanction.

(v) Offering higher incentives for sterilisation.

(vi) Liberalising abortion for married women.

(vii) Withdrawing maternity benefits to those women violating two-child norm.

(viii) Adoption of Chinese system of incentives in respect of job, salary hike, promotion, housing, ration etc. to those who have been following small family norm.

(ix) Introduction of disincentive schemes in the form of increased taxation and withdrawal of other facilities etc. for those people who refuse to accept the small family norm.

(x) Making adequate provision for substantial reduction in the infant mortality rate and also to enhance the child survival rate for the successful adoption of small family norm.

(xi) To strengthen the monitoring of the entire programme so as to reduce leakages and misutilisation to the minimum.

(xii) Adoption of a strong political will by all the political parties for the universal implementation of family planning programme and also for adoption of incentive and disincentive package in connection with small family norm.

(xiii) Publicity. In order to send the message of family planning, its importance and method to the general masses, wide publicity must be made. Misconceptions about the harmful effect of birth control devices should be removed from the mind of the people through publicity. With the help of mass media like T.V., Radio, Cinema, Newspapers, Journals or by pamphlets the task of publicity can be made successfully.

(xiv) Spread of Education and Motivation. By raising the rate of literacy and to make the people more conscious about health and family welfare along with adoption of small family norm, the Government can popularise family welfare programmes among the people.

Spread of education among women and participation of women in various job opportunities and other social activities can raise their social status which can indirectly contribute towards containing the birth rate of population of the country. Moreover, the family planning programme staff should try to motivate people in general to adopt the family planning or birth control devices so as to accept the idea of small family norm.

(xv) Lastly, enlarging popular support and co-operation on the part of the general people and enhancing sustained administrative support for the implementation of the programme are very much essential to realise to goal of reducing the population growth rate to 1.2 per cent by 2000 A.D.

Thus the family planning programme in India needs a total change in its strategy. In this respect the family planning strategy to slow down the population increase followed by China has been far stricter and far more successful than that of India.

Jodi Jacobson in her report recently observed that, “Other countries can learn and copy a great deal from China’s experience. The barefoot doctor programme is one example. By decentralizing health care and family planning provided literally by villagers for villagers, countries can begin to combat high rates of maternal and infant mortality and provide the means and information necessary to plan families. A widespread rural network can help to educate people on population and environmental issues. By codifying and enforcing laws and offering women of every age educational and employment opportunities equivalent to men, countries can promote equity and lower fertility at the same time.”

Thus the present population scenario in India demands a bold strategy for the successful implementation of family planning programme in India.


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