The following points highlight the five major loopholes in the population policy of India. The loopholes are: 1. Too much Importance on Clinical Approaches 2. Neglect of Socio-Economic Imperatives 3. Inappropriate Coercive Methods 4. High Infant Mortality Rate 5. Adhocism and Shifting Policy.
Loophole # 1. Too much Importance on Clinical Approaches:
In India, the population policy all along put too much importance on the opening of family planning clinics and centres without arousing any mental preparation among the people to accept such a system.
Loophole # 2. Neglect of Socio-Economic Imperatives:
The importance of raising the standard of living and other socio-economic set up of the general mass in the countryside has been neglected in the population policy of the country. B.R. Sen, a noted demographer, observed that the population problem has not been properly understood in India.
Thus if population problem in this country is to be solved then a frontal attack on poverty, especially in the rural areas must be made which will require extra developmental efforts in the rural areas.
Loophole # 3. Inappropriate Coercive Methods:
Demographers and economists in India never approved coercive method which was once adopted by the Government in 1976. The experience of emergency in connection with coercive methods showed that the adoption forced sterilisation hurt the sentiments of the people and became counter-productive.
In this connection, P. Visaria observed, “It is premature to think of introducing compulsory sterilisation. Persuasion supplemented by monetary compensations as well as group incentives and disincentives remains the best policy.”
China, which is also experiencing a serious population problem, became successful to reduce the growth rate of population from 2.2 per cent per annum during 1965-80 to 1.3 per cent per annum during 1980-88. Just to achieve this target, the Chinese Government made provision for incentives in the form of increase in salary by 12.5 per cent, priority in housing, preference in school admission and in jobs, adulteration for child etc.
Again in China, those who do not accept the one-child norm are taxed heavily. Even the experience of Kerala reveals that without any adoption of compulsion, the birth rate in the state has been brought down to 19 per thousand by 1990 mainly due to higher level of literacy and better organisation.
Loophole # 4. High Infant Mortality Rate:
A high degree of correlation exists between the high birth rate and high infant mortality. In India, the infant mortality rate remained all along very high. In 1989, the infant mortality rate in India stood at 91 per thousand which is still very high.
Loophole # 5. Adhocism and Shifting Policy:
In India, the population policy and family planning programme followed during the last forty years were adhoc in nature. There was tendency on the part of our policy makers to adopt a shifting policy towards family planning all imported from western countries.
Eminent economist Prof. Amartya Sen recently warns of the growing advocacy of coercion “in different forms” in India’s population policy saying that it achieves little and destroys a lot.
In one of his recent essay entitled “Population Policy: Authoritarianism versus co-operation”, Prof. Sen observed, “It does not seem to work faster than what can happen through the co-operation route, and its other consequences, including side effects can be quite horrendous……………… Co-operation can contribute something that coercion cannot provide.”
Prof. Sen says that alternative is to facilitate ways of relying on those whose well being is most directly involved, particularly young women. This approach has worked elsewhere, and there is no reasons why it will not work in India as well. To some extent it is already happening in India, particularly in Kerala and these parts are quite a lot more successful than the states which are falling for coercive measures.
Some demographers are of the opinion that the family planning programme of India is a great fraud. The people responsible for it make only feeble attempts to publicize the benefits of two children in a family; the dangers of exploding population. They have also failed to make family planning counseling and birth control methods widely and easily available.
No Indian State (except Kerala) is anywhere close to reducing the total population, attaining zero population growth (ZPG) or even bringing down the disastrously high per capita birth rate.
A sure way of defeating the new economic policy is to keep it bereft of a compatible as well as complementary population policy. At the same time, an incompatible combination of economic and population policies will definitely prove to be disastrous for India which is fast heading towards Multhasian Crisis.
Thus the population policy perused in India could not yield a satisfactory result in reducing both the birth rate and the rate of growth of population in the country.
Although there are lack of infrastructural facilities, but the factors which are very much responsible for this failure of our population policy includes non-optimal use of available resources in the field of population control, political, economic and cultural restraints, absence of broad-based perspective approach in population policy, lack of sincerity on the part of the organisation engaged in family planning, lack of strong political will and lastly lack of co-operation from the general people in implementing the programme itself.