The Hindu

We are not in favour of imposing family planning, govt. tells SC

Advocate files petition seeking population control law

- Krishnadas Rajagopal

The Centre told the Supreme Court on Saturday that it was against coercing couples into having a “certain number of children” in a bid to curb population explosion.

In fact, the government said the years from 2001 to 2011 witnessed the sharpest decline in decadal growth rate of Indian population in a 100 years.

“The Family Welfare Programme in India is voluntary in nature, which enables couples to decide the size of their family and adopt the family planning methods best suited to them, according to their choice, without any compulsion,” the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry said in an affidavit. It said India was a signatory to the Programme of Action (POA) of the Internatio­nal Conference on Population and Developmen­t, 1994, which was unequivoca­lly against coercion in family planning. “In fact, internatio­nal experience shows that any coercion to have a certain number of children is counterpro­ductive and leads to demographi­c distortion­s,” the Ministry said.

The government was responding to the court’s direction to a petition filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to introduce a population control law. Mr. Upadhyay said population explosion had been the bane of the country. Without implementi­ng effective population control measures, Healthy India, Literate India, Prosperous India, Resourcefu­l India, Strong India, Secured India, Sensitive India, Clean India and Corruption and Crime-Free India campaign won’t succeed,” Mr. Upadhyay said.

But the government said India had been witnessing a “constant decline” in the total fertility rate (TFR).

According to the Census statistics, “2001-2011 was the first decade in the last 100 years which had not only added lesser population as compared to the previous one, but also registered the sharpest decline in the decadal growth rate from 21.54% in 1991-2001 to 17.64% in 2001-2011”.

“The wanted fertility in India as per National Family Health Survey IV is only 1.8 as against the actual fertility of 2.2 prevailing at that time, indicating that couples on an average do not want more than two children,” the Ministry said.

2001-2011 was the first decade in 100 years that added less population than the previous one Health & Family Welfare ministry

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