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

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Religion, Population Growth, Fertility and Family Planning Practice in India

The differential growth rates of Hindu and Muslim populations in India, as well as differences in acceptance of family planning practices, have always formed the subject of controversial debate. Based primarily on five national level surveys conducted between 1970 and 1998, this paper makes an attempt to analyse the differential growth rates of the Hindus and Muslims in India, their fertility levels and family planning practices observed by them.

Unmet Need for Contraception

There is little or no unmet need for contraception in India. So the resources allocated by the National Commission on Population for the working group/task force entrusted with the responsibility of suggesting ways and means of meeting the unmet ne

More on Population programme

P H Reddy THE points raised by G B Venkatesha Murthy (EPW, August 8) on my article ('Population Programme in Ninth Plan', EPW, January 31), are trivial and the substantive issues in my article like the factors that contribute to population growth and the quota of their contribution have been left untouched. My statement that "People are waiting eagerly to find out whether the Ninth Plan will chart out new strategy in the implementation Of family Welfare programme", meant educated people in general and demographers in particular. I am not a nincompoop to say that illiterate and rural people are waiting for new strategy in the implementation of family welfare programme. Before explaining the rationale behind my analysis of Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the 13-party coalition of the United Front and the Approach Paper to Ninth Five-Year Plan, 1997-2002 of the Planning Commission, let me point out these are not "two sets of documents" on which my analysis is based, but are two documents. He has described the CMP as a "political document' and the Approach paper was an 'official document' and states that there was no relationship between the two. This only shows his naivete regarding the functioning of political parties and governments. Let me elaborate.

Population Programme in Ninth Plan

P H Reddy The Approach Paper to the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1997-2002) has identified the three factors that contribute to population growth as: the large population in the reproductive age, higher fertility due to unmet need for family planning and high wanted fertility due to high infant mortality rate. How much do these factors contribute to population growth? Although the paper recognises the need for promotion of mate participation in family planning, no strategy is spelled out. Other issues like the need to promote spacing methods, incentives and disincentives, family planning targets, demographic goals, etc, are not even mentioned in the Approach Paper The preferred strategy to bring down the birth rate to be adopted is far from clean INDIA is often cited as the first country in the world to have started an official family planning programme as far back as 1952. But the family planning programme began to be implemented vigorously from the Third Five-Year Plan (1961-66), In the Third Plan document, the planning patriarchs started thinking in terms of "the objective of stabilising the growth of population over a reasonable period". In pursuit of this objective, policy-makers began to set family planning method-specific targets for various states and union territories and demographic goals for the entire country. Much has been said about the tyranny of targets'. But not many people know the sad saga of demographic goals.

Population Front of India s Economic-Development

Population Front of India's Economic Development P H Reddy EVER since India attained independence, the governments both at the centre and in the states have been making strenuous efforts to improve the standard of living of the people. The main mechanism through which this is sought to be achieved is the five-year development plans. Each five-year plan contemplates a long-term perspective, with the period ranging from 15 to 25 years. One of the main objectives of these long-term perspectives, like that of the five-year plans themselves, has been to increase the rate of growth of national income and per capita incomes. The only difference is that the former cover a long period, while the latter cover the medium term of five years. Long- term perspectives bristle with a number of problems. "Perspective plan in general is expected to identify the long-term socioeconomic goals of a society and outline broad strategies for achieving them. The strategies for achieving such long-term goals should be based on not merely the resources available at the time of formulating them but more importantly should take in to account the resources of the future, including new technology and possibilities of mastering it, and more extensive as well as better use of natural and human resources. And such forecasting exercise should encompass economic variables as also social trends" [Thimmaiah, 1987: 1-2]. Occasionally, some academics choose to examine the long-term perspectives and try to identify the factors responsible for the failure to realise them. These academics, more often than not, conclude that population or rather rapid growth of population is the main factor responsible for the failure to attain the long-term perspectives. For example, in an article published recently in this journal, Dandekar [1988: 837-842] examines the long-term perspective in the First Five-Year Plan and gives the impression that rapid population growth was the villain, or worse villain than the national economy which failed to perform up to the expectations, for not doubling per capita incomes between 1950-51 and 1977-78. 1 argue, among other things, that population growth was a lesser evil than the failure of the national economy to perform in our inability to double per capita incomes

Resources Not the Constraint on Health Improvement

Health Improvement A Comment P H Reddy IT has often been complained that lack of resources or infrastructure! facilities impede development programmes, including health and family welfare programmes. But in his article,1 P G K Panikar seems to have convincingly demonstrated that it is not the resources constraint but rather lack of proper policies and priorities that acts as an impediment to improvement of health status of people. To prove his point, Panikar compares various indices of health resources and health status of people in Kerala and other states of India. However, caution needs to be exercised when a comparison is made between Kerala and other states, Kerala is a unique state in more than one sense, As has been rightly pointed out by Panikar, literacy rate is much higher in Kerala than in other states. Educated people tend to be conscious of their rights and duties. Educated people in Kerala perhaps demand services from various health institutions and maintain good environmental sanitation and personal hygiene and thus maintain a better health status. Similarly, educated parents in Kerala perhaps know better infant and child feeding practices and thus reduce infant and child morbidity and mortality.

Indian Student Rebellion-Some Neglected Factors

Indian Student Rebellion Some Neglected Factors P H Reddy The following article attempts to detect and piece together some of the factors that have contributed to student rebellion in India.
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