National Population Policy 2000
Government of India launched the National Population Policy in 2000 to improve quality of lives of people of India and to provide them with equal opportunities to be productive individual of society. India launched its first programme to emphasize the need for family planning in 1952 and became the first country in the world to do so. The government realised that the latter is basically a function of making reproductive health care accessible and affordable for all, providing primary and secondary education, etc. All this also essential for creating sustainable development model.
National Population Policy 2000 highlights
- It reiterated the government’s resolve to push for voluntary and informed choice and agreeability of citizens to get maximum benefit from reproductive health services.
- It embarks on a policy outline for the government for next ten years to improve the reproductive and child health needs of people of India which include issues like child survival, maternal health, contraception, etc.
- School education upto age of 14, to be made free and mandatory. This will also include plan to check drop-out rate of boys and girls.
- The policy also aims at curbing the IMR to less than 30 per 1000 live births.
- The Maternal Mortality Rate will also be brought down to less than 100 per 1, 00,000 live births. A high MMR is a symbol of economic and social disparity of the fairer sex. It also points to heightened inequities in terms of healthcare and nutrition.
- Another important feature of the policy is to attain universal immunisation of all children against preventable diseases.
- The policy will also act against child marriage and promote 20 years as the right marriageable age for girls. The legal age for same is 18 years.
- The policy will actively support a target of 80% institutional deliveries and 100 % deliveries by trained persons.
- It also seeks to achieve 100 % registration of births, deaths, marriages and pregnancies.
- Preventing and controlling all communicable diseases.
- It will also strive to Integrate Indian Systems of Medicine to provide reproductive and child health services by reaching out to households.
- It thus will seek to integrate and converge all related social sector programmes so that complete family welfare and health can be taken care of and properly maintained.
- NPP 2000 also emphasizes the role of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddh and Homeopathy (AYUSH) medicine system to serve the goals of public health.
The NPP 2000 strived to change the mindsets of people from base level. Its intense focus on women empowerment has led to improvement in many national statistics. However, there has been a great upsurge in the number of institutional deliveries but there has not been a parallel increase in the healthcare staff. This has led to immense pressure on health facilities and officials and an obvious degradation of quality of services. Also, at many places there is an acute shortage of medicines, staff and other related materials.
Critical Assessment of India’s Population Policy
India’s national population policies have failed to achieve their objectives as we remain world’s second largest populated country. The population of India in 1951 was 35 crore, but by 2011, it had increased to 121 crore. There have been few shortcomings. Firstly, the NPP have a narrow perspective, give much importance to contraception and sterilisation. The basic prerequisite of meaningfully controlling population include poverty alleviation, improving the standards of living and the spread of education. Secondly, on national scale the policy was not publicised and failed to generate mass support in favour of population control. Thirdly, we have insufficient infrastructure owing to the lack of trained staff, lack of adequate aptitude among the staff and limited use or misuse of the equipment for population control resulted in failure of the policy. Lastly, the use of coercion during the Emergency (1976-77) caused a serious resentment among the masses. This made the very NPP itself very unpopular.