ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Studying Women Seeking Abortions

Abortion in Asia: Local Dilemmas, Global Politics edited by Andrea Whittaker, New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2013; pp xii + 253, Rs 895.

Population, Education and Development

This article focuses on the lacunae and limited understanding of the linkages between education, population and development. Data on this is important for realistic manpower and expenditure planning in the light of the Right to Education Act which aims to provide eight years of free and compulsory elementary education to all children between the ages of six and 14. Demographics related to how many children are in the population and those that will be born in the coming years are required in order to plan for the number who will need to be educated at different levels, the number of teachers needed at various stages of the education ladder and to be trained, the number and the type of infrastructural facilities needed and so on. Also, for sustainable development it is necessary to provide good quality education, including teaching employable skills.

Public Provisioning of Health and Decentralisation in Gujarat

This paper presents primary data collected from two districts of Surat and Kutch in Gujarat and examines how and to what extent the decentralised system of governance has contributed to delivery of health services in rural areas of Gujarat. It finds several lacunae and shortcomings in the delivery by panchayati raj institutions of public health programmes.

Violence against Women in India: Is Empowerment a Protective Factor?

This study examines three issues related to domestic violence in India on the basis of data from the third National Family Health Survey. It shows that a significant proportion of women, regardless of their socioeconomic background, accept power differentials based on sex and that men have a right to discipline them. It also reveals that men from violent homes are significantly more likely to use violence against their wives. Most women do not seek help for the violence suffered, and the few who do, tend to steer clear of social service organisations and the authorities.

Medical Abortion in India: Role of Chemists and Providers

Medical abortion, approved in India in 2002, is emerging as an alternative to surgical procedure for terminating early pregnancy and offers a window of opportunity to expand women's access to safe and effective abortion. A study undertaken of chemists and providers points to some of the challenges such as limited awareness of the appropriate regimen, protocol and likely side effects, the cost to clients, resistance of providers of surgical abortion and the need for adequate backup facilities. All these have to be addressed in order to make medical abortion available widely.

Improving the Child Sex Ratio: Role of Policy and Advocacy

We may have to wait for the 2011 Census to see the final result of measures taken to improve the child sex ratio in India. Until then, we should adopt more stringent steps to make the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act of 2003 more effective. Against the backdrop of the text and implementation of the previous Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act of 1994, this article analyses the challenges ahead and the role of advocacy measures to prevent an increasing deficit of women in the population.

Two-Child Norm

Though the press has reported on the fallout of the implementation of the two-child norm in the six Indian states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, there is a dearth of studies on the subject. This paper undertakes an empirical study of the perceptions and views of the policy-makers, programme implementers and disqualified elected representatives in four of these states. Some have argued that adoption of the two-child norm by elected panchayat members would have a "demonstration" effect on the community. However, evidence suggests that even at the village level, caste, class and gender politics dominate and those who belong to the backward communities offer no role model to members of higher castes or their own kith and kin. The two-child norm impinges on basic human rights, is anti-women and anti-weaker segments.

Abortion in India

Despite the legalisation of abortion in India, morbidity and mortality continue to remain a serious problem for a majority of women undergoing abortions. A lack of reliable information, wide regional and rural-urban differences and a thin research base all make it difficult for policy-makers, administrators and women's health advocates to develop strategic interventions. This article highlights issues that emerged from eight qualitative research studies that formed part of the Abortion Assessment Project - which sought to create an evidence-based body of knowledge on all facets of induced abortion. These studies have thrown up some common patterns and themes, such as the unmet needs for contraception and abortion, the question of son preference, the preference for private providers and the neglected needs of the single, widowed or separated women. More crucially, they highlight the need to integrate diverse viewpoints that would further ease progression towards the common goal of making abortion an infrequently used but safe alternative for women faced with an unwanted pregnancy.

Long-Term Population Projections for Major States, 1991-2101

The authors decompose the prospective population growth in 16 major states between 1991 and 2101 into three components to estimate the contribution of each of them individually. The decomposition of population growth in different states seeks to estimate the impact of growth momentum built into the age distribution of population and the share of prospective growth attributable to (a) the unmet need for family planning and (b) high wanted fertility.

Violence against Women

This article presents the results of an enquiry into domestic violence conducted in rural Gujarat. The sample survey shows the severity and the endemic nature of violence. Forms of and reasons for violence as also social and demographic characteristics associated with violence are discussed.

Proximate Determinants of Fertility in India

Variations in fertility are generally examined in terms of socio-economic factors such as education, income, caste, place of residence. These factors can affect fertility only through intermediate variables such as proportion of females married, prevalence of contraceptive use, incidence of induced abortion and the fertility inhibiting effect on breastfeeding. This article attempts to estimate the values of the proximate determinants of fertility for major states after examining available evidence and interstate variations in these factors.

Emerging Issues in Reproductive Health

Vimala Ramachandran Leela Visaria The government of India has decided to introduce target-free approach in family planning. But whether this change in the language of discourse also implies a change in the dominant mind-set focused on fertility control, remains a moot question.

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