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

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BHOPAL DISASTER-A Fresh Opportunity

At a Dead-End HAVING spent more than Rs 640 crore up to the Sixth Plan on population control and after decades of setting family planning targets the government of India seems to have been at last forced to acknowledge what it now terms the 'failure' of the family planning programme. There is much lamentation about the shortcomings of one of the most prestigious of government programmes. Recently the Public Accounts Committee in its 139th report on the family welfare programme has come down heavily on the government for its failure to bring down birth rates. The committee is perplexed why the birth rate should have remained stationary at 33 per thousand since 1977 even though the programme each year claims to have fulfilled targets. The report indicates three main directions for policy change: one, a uniform national strategy is inappropriate, as demonstrated by the chronic failure in the poorly performing states; two, the age structure has changed over the years such that the target population (that is those unprotected and in the child-bearing age) is now younger which in turn would point to more extensive use of spacing methods; and third, an adequate machinery and closer inter- sectoral linkages need to be established to co-ordinate the various socio-economic programmes.

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