The Centre will soon be launching a scheme to make available contraceptives at door steps, in a bid to boost population control efforts, Union health and family welfare minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Friday.
Health volunteers would promote the use of contraceptives at the household level in targeted districts and the Centre will make available contraceptives free of cost at the block level, he said, addressing the 53rd Convocation of the International Institute of Population Sciences in Mumbai.
The 2011 Census shows that efforts to wards population stabilisation have been yielding results, he said. "We have succeeded in reducing both fertility and mortality rates substantially and increasing the average life expectancy of the Indian population."
The minister expressed concern at the large regional disparities in demographic outcomes across the states. He said the Empowered Action Group (EAG) states, ie Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgrah, where 45% of India's population resides, have been lagging behind the rest of the country in both fertility and mortality rates.
The government is committed to providing quality and universal health care to the rural population through the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), he maintained.
The funding to the health sector is going to be raised from the present level of less than 1% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to 2% to 3% during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17), the minister said.