Health ministry is preparing an ambitous plan to ensure that condoms reach every home in the country's 600,000 villages in a bid to curb the runaway population growth, a senior official said on Tuesday.
The plan is being prepared on the direction of Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has ruled out any slation to control the burgeoning population that has now reached 1.02 billion, a health ministry official, who did not wish to be identified, said.
"Azad wants to take condoms to every home in the six lakh (600,000) villages in India. He thinks that accessibility of condoms at the door-steps of the villagers would help control the population, which is projected to be 1.19 billion in 2011," the official said.
According to 2001 census, India's population is 1.02 billion and it is estimated to exceed that of China by 2030 to make it the world's most populous nation. India crossed the billion mark in 2000 and is projected by demographers to reach a population of 1.53 billion by 2030 by which time China's would have peaked at 1.46 billion and then drop in subsequent years.
"The ministry is having a plan and it will be announced soon," the official said.
Asked how practical is its effective implementation, he said the plan is being prepared considering all the aspects.
"A condom is needed when it is really required. The plan is being prepared keeping this thing in mind," he said.
According to sources, the ministry is seriously thinking to draw on the help of the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), affiliated to the National Rural Health Mission, to run its scheme. An ASHA worker - primarily a woman resident of the village, married/widowed/ divorced, preferably in the age group of 25 to 45 years - is trained to work as an interface between the community and the public health system.
"An ASHA worker, who is a literate woman with formal education up to class eight, will be trained accordingly to spread the message of condoms to the rural households," the official said.
Addressing a national workshop on Repositioning Family Planning for Maternal and Child Health earlier this year, Azad had said India, the world's second most populous country, was against controlling population growth by force through legislation.
"I firmly believe that equitable, inclusive and sustainable growth of India depends on healthy and stable population. It is a matter of great concern and urgent steps need to be taken to stabilise the population for sustainable development," he said.