Family Planning in India: Components, Barriers and Suggested Measures

The concept of family planning implies both the limitation of the family to have only the desired number of children which are considered appropriate to the resource availability of the family as well as having proper spacing between children. The concept helps to empower women in economic, social and political spheres. It aims to change the child bearing behaviour of women and improve the health status of women and thus reducing the population growth in a country.

From 1977, the Family Planning Programme in India is called as the Family Welfare Programme which places a special emphasis on the welfare of the people.

Components of family-planning programme

  • Information, awareness, education and communication activities,
  • Contraceptives: Supply and Service,
  • Research,
  • Training of field personnel, and
  • Administrative infrastructure.

Barriers to Family Planning in India

  • Fatalism and religious beliefs which places emphasis on the need to have children in India,
  • Birth control measures are not always acceptable to the people because of their perceived side effects, anaesthetic attributes etc.
  • Methods of family planning are not equally effective. For example, the conventional contraceptives are only 50% effective.
  • In some cases, supplies and services related to family planning are not easily available.

Suggested Measures to control Population Growth in India

Incentives Vs Disincentives

There is a debate among the thinkers on which method to follow to control population explosion in India. They are confused between cooperation vs. coercion, incentives vs. disincentives, Kerala model vs. Chinese model. In this regard, the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has favoured cooperation approach in place of coercion.

Developing Acceptable Contraceptives

New cheap, easy-to-use, side-effects free contraceptive which will be more acceptable to the people needs to be developed. Performing research on health status and dietary habits of some of the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands who have extremely low fertility rates may provide a solution.

Increase in Marriage Age

Various studies, especially those conducted in Kerala have shown that there exists direct relationship between age of marriage and size of family.

Social Empowerment

Social empowerment of people by means of education, employment opportunities and access to public health facilities can help in arresting population growth.

Role of NGOs

NGOs have intimate relation with the people of a nation and acts as a bridge between people and the government. Hence, they play a prominent role in dismantling the deep rooted beliefs favouring male children and large families. Also, their role is very important in ensuring success of government policies as they have the capacity to penetrate into the remote areas of the country.

Economic Development

According to noted demographer, Dumont, there exist inverse relationship between per-capita income and a country’s birth rate. With increase in economic prosperity, people will feel more secure and may not desire more children in order to supplement their income. Hence, economic development will help in controlling the population growth rate of a country.

Decreasing Infant Mortality Rate

Since, Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is high in India, people tend to bear more children in an expectation that at least some children survive up to their adulthood. Hence, the infant mortality rate has to be decreased by universal vaccination, maternity and child care etc.

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