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FAMILY PLANNING

Kumudini Dandekar DURING the past 25 years, attempts have been made to achieve economic development as well as birth control. Economic dvelopment, it was expected, would lead to an intellectual and cultural milieu in society favourable to birth control. An indirect attack on the problems of population growth was launched through raising the level of literacy and education leading to a rise in the age of marriage as well as through offering economic opportunities to women outside agriculture, etc. However, in spite of serious effort for two decades, at the end of the Fourth Plan it was observed that less than 15 per cent of Indian couples were practising contraception. Moreover, there was no perceptible change in the cultural set-up as a result of economic development. Hence the goal of attaining a low birth rate (of less than 25 births per 1,000 population) and a low growth rate of population has not been achieved; further, at this pace, there also seems to be no hope of achieving this objective in the near future.

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