Govt’s family planning policy needs review, reorientation | business | Hindustan Times
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Govt’s family planning policy needs review, reorientation

There is a need to overhaul India’s population policy of setting family planning targets and incentivising female sterilization — both of which could be a hurdle in bolstering the girl child — the economic survey said in a special section, 'Unleashing Naari Shakti.'

business Updated: Feb 28, 2015 01:07 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta

There is a need to overhaul India’s population policy of setting family planning targets and incentivising female sterilization — both of which could be a hurdle in bolstering the girl child — the economic survey said in a special section, “Unleashing Naari Shakti.”

“The negative fallouts of pursuing a population policy that largely focuses on birth control also contributes to declining child sex ratio: if every family is to have fewer children, there is a greater anxiety that at least one of them should be male,” the survey noted.

India already has one of the lowest child-sex ratio (the number of girls to boys at birth) in the world. From 927 girls per 1000 boys in 2001 to 918 girls per 1000 boys in 2011, child sex ratio in the country has dipped to an all-time low since independence.

The alarming decline has already caught the attention of the government with Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” — a special scheme aimed at addressing the child-sex ration and improving the lot of the girl child.

The economic survey has said that “there may be a case for the government to undo as much as to do for example, by not setting targets, withdrawing incentives for female sterilization and for mass camps.

The report specifically mentions last November’s incident in Bilaspur where 13 women lost their lives while undergoing sterilization in a mass camp. It notes that female sterilization is a “specific and serious problem that needs urgent attention.”

The third round of the National Family Health Survey has found that even in developed states such as Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, female sterilization accounted for 90% and 76% of all contraceptives.

Apart from reviewing the family planning program and reorienting it to align with reproductive health rights of women and needs of India’s population, the survey has also recommended increasing the budget for quality services, static family planning clinics, quality monitoring and supervision.