The Centre wants to give a big push to family planning by distributing contraceptives door-to-door in villages across the nation.
The health ministry also plans to substantially increase the money paid as incentive to women for sterilisation from the current R600.
“We propose to introduce a new system under which contraceptives will be available at the doorstep at the village level through community-based workers called ASHAs. This will improve direct and easy access to contraceptives,” Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told the Population Commission that met under the chairmanship of PM Manmohan Singh on Friday.
“Appropriate incentives for ASHAs to undertake home delivery of contraceptives are being worked out,” he said.
Under the National Population Policy 2000, India had to reach a replacement fertility rate — the number of children a woman has in her life — of 2.1 by 2010 and stabilise population by 2045.
With a fertility rate of 2.6 (SRS 2008 data), India’s nowhere close to achieving its target by 2045. “At the current rate, we expect to achieve population stabilisation by 2070, with a population of 170 crore,” he said.
“The challenge is to make up for lost time, bring back family planning and population stabilisation into political discourse to speed up response...” he said.
Only 14 states have achieved the target rate of 2.1. Bihar and UP are the laggards, with rates of 3.9 and 3.8. States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu have already achieved targets, with both boasting fertility rates of 1.7.