The following points will highlight the top five measures adopted by Government for family planning.

Measure # 1. Broadcasting Programmes on Family Planning:

All India Radio started broadcasting programmes on family planning, now known as family welfare, on a regular basis in the late sixties to provide radio support to the National Family Planning Programme.

In the late seventies, the Family Planning Service was integrated with gen­eral health service. Particular emphasis is laid on Two Children Norm’, ‘Spacing Methods’, ‘Use of Contraceptives’, Raising of Marriage Age’, ‘Ter­minal Methods of Family Planning’, and ‘Wom­en’s Education’.

Measure # 2. Family Welfare Programme:

In keeping with the democratic traditions of the country, the Family Welfare Programme seeks to promote, on a voluntary basis, responsible and planned par­enthood with two-child norm—male, female or both—through independent choice of family wel­fare methods best suited to the acceptors. Family welfare services are offered through the total health-care delivery system.


People’s participa­tion is sought through all institutions, voluntary agencies, people’s representatives, government functionaries and various other structures and in­fluential groups. Imaginative use of the mass me­dia and inter-personal communication is resorted to for explaining the various methods of contra­ception and removing socio-cultural barriers— wherever they exist. As a result of this approach, the number of acceptors of various methods- of family welfare has started to register progressive increase over the years.

Various programmes are implemented through State Governments for which per­cent Central assistance is provided. In rural areas, such programmes are being further extended through a network of primary health centres and sub-centres. Maternal and child health-care and expanded programme of immunisation are also a part of the family welfare programme.

It was estimated that 45.4% of 16.47 crore eligible couples, whose wives are in the repro­ductive age group of 15-44, were protected by one or another of the approved methods of family wel­fare in 1997-98. As a result, 212.2 million births had been averted since 1956.

Measure # 3. Medical Termination of Pregnancy:

The programme of medical termination of pregnancy through well-trained doctors in well-equipped approved hospitals is essentially a health-care measure. But, in a way, it supplements the family welfare programme as it provides for legalised abortion in cases of contraceptive failures also. A good proportion of the acceptors of abortion go in for some form of contraception like sterilization, IUD, etc. The Medical Termination of Preg­nancy Act, 1971, is in operation since April 1972.

Measure # 4. Maternal and Child Health Programme:


Care of mothers and children and vulnerable groups of the society plays pivotal role in family welfare programmes. The Maternity and Child Health Programmes (MCH) are directed towards effective ante-natal care, ensuring safe and asep­tic delivery and appropriate post-natal care, ini­tiation and maintenance of breast-feeding, timely immunization against common infectious dis­eases, control of diarrhea, attention to growth and provision of basic medical care.

In Seventh Plan (1985-1990) the focus of at­tention was on the Family Planning Programmes— whose coverage has been enlarged and has been renamed Family Welfare Programme—to take care of problems of maternity and child health. An im­provement in maternity services and a fall in the infant mortality rate made family planning more acceptable to the people, particularly to the rural poor.

However, what is more important is better monitoring of the programme so that the extent of leakages and misutilisation can be minimised. This alone can improve the effectiveness of the programme so as to enable the country to reach its long-term goal of ‘zero population growth rate’.

Measure # 5. Non-Family Planning Measures:

Two other measures have also been adopted by the Gov­ernment to reduce fertility, viz., raising the age of marriage of women from 17-26 years during 1971 to 18-32 years in 1981 and the growth of literacy among women. These two measures are likely to lead to 12% decline in general fertility rate dur­ing the next 20 years.