QUESTION: Critically analyse India’s family planning programme and the methods used in population control. “Whether growing population is the cause of poverty or poverty is the mains cause of population increase in India” justify this statement.






  • India’s Demographic Future and its Evaluation



  • A new study by the Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) says that as the 21st century closes, India’s population will be about 1.09 billion instead of approximately 1.35 billion today. It could even be as low as 724 million.


  • Key findings by IHME study:

  India’s population will peak and subsequently decline due to a sharp reduction in fertility.


Fertility decline:

  • By the year 2100, Indian women will have 1.29 children. Since each woman must have two children to replace herself and her husband, this will result in a sharp population decline.
  • However it is difficult to believe that this predicted fertility rate of 1.29 for India is less than the projected 1.53 for the United States and 1.78 for France.

 o Fertility decline in western countries is due to retreat from the family system.




  • The study estimates that India’s population will peak by mid-century at around 1.61 billion. It also estimates that by 2100, India’s total population will be around 1.09 billion and could also be as low as 724 million.

o India’s current population stands at 1.35 billion.

  • The IHME study’s observation is in line with the widely-used United Nations projections of India becoming the largest population country by around mid-century.
  • However, the two projections exhibit large divergence on their prediction of the population number by 2100. While the UN predicts a population of 1.45 billion by 2100, the IHME study predicts a total population of around 1.09 billion.


The IHME projections Vs United Nations projections:

  • The UN projects that India’s population will be 1.64 billion by 2050, the IHME projects 1.61 billion by 2048.
  • The UN predicted a population of 1.45 billion by 2100, and the IHME, 1.09 billion.

 Reasons for divergence:

  • IHME model excessively relies on data regarding current contraceptive use in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
  • Contraceptive use in the NFHS is poorly estimated, so the gap in contraception may be lower than that estimated by the IHME model.


Fertility trends in India :

  • In the 1950s, India’s Total fertility rate (TFR) was nearly six children per woman; today it is 2.2.

 o The family planning initiatives and forced sterilisation during the Emergency led to a meagre 17?cline in TFR from 5.9 in 1960 to 4.9 in 1980.

 o However, between 1992 and 2015, it had fallen by 35% from 3.4 to 2.2.

  • 18 States and Union Territories have a TFR below 2, the replacement level.


Possible causes for declining TFR:

  • Famil planning programme
  • Disincentive system: Punitive policies designed to punish people with large families include measures like denial of maternity leave for third and subsequent births, limiting benefits of maternity schemes and ineligibility to contest in local body elections for individuals with large families.

 National Programme for Family Planning

  • India was the first country in the world to launch a national programme for family planning when it did so in 1952.
  • In India, family planning has been chiefly due to the efforts of the government.
  • The programme has undergone massive transformation from its early days when the focus was in terms of a clinical approach to today, when the focus is on reproductive health, and in the reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates, child mortality and morbidity.
  • The National Population Policy (NPP) launched in 2000 has helped in the reduction of fertility.
  • As part of the programme, the government established several clinics for reproductive health and family planning.
  • There are also several awareness through various media propagating family planning, the need for spacing between children, and for having lesser number of children per couple.
  • The government has popularised the slogan, “Hum Do, Humare Do”, for promoting the Two-Child Norm.
  • There are also fines such as not providing government jobs if a person has more than two children, etc. But, these might have backfired in some places leading to more sex-selective abortions, etc.
  • Aspirational revolution: The socioeconomic transformation of India since the 1990s
    • Agriculture’s share of India’s GDP declined and school and college enrolment grew sharply and people started finding a job.
    • Rethink of family-building strategies: Earlier farmers used to have more children to produce more workers, while the new aspirational parents seem to demonstrate increased commitment to family by reducing the number of children and investing more in each child.
  • Small and large families do not differ in their leisure activities, women’s participation in the workforce or how many material goods they purchase.
  • But small families have more money for investments on children.


  • High fertility rate in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar or among women with low levels of education or Muslims results in politicians proposing remedies that would force them to have fewer children.
  • Demographic data suggest that the aspirational revolution is already under way. We should ensure that the health and family welfare system provides contraception and sexual and reproductive health services that allow individuals to have lesser children

 Initiatives under the Family Planning Programe of India:

 New interventions under Family Planning

  • Mission Parivar Vikas: The Government has launched Mission Parivar Vikas for substantially increasing the access to contraceptives and family planning services in the high fertility districts of seven high focus states with TFR of 3 and above. These 146 districts are from the seven high focus, high TFR states (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Assam) that itself constitutes 44% of the country’s population.
  • New Contraceptive Choices: The current basket of choice has been expanded to include the new contraceptives.
  • Redesigned Contraceptive Packaging:

 The packaging for Condoms, OCPs and ECPs has now been improved and redesigned so as to influence the demand for these commodities

  • New Family Planning Media Campaign: A360 degree media campaign has been launched to generate contraceptive demand.
  • Enhanced Compensation Scheme for Sterilization- The sterilization compensation scheme has been enhanced in 11 high focus states (8 EAG, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana)
  • A new IUCD (Cu 375) with  5 years effectivity has been introduced in the programme as an alternative to the exiting IUCD (Cu 380A with effectivity of 10 years).
  • Scheme for ensuring drop back services to sterilization clients
  • Appointment of dedicated RMNCH+A counsellors at high case load facilities.
  • Assured delivery of family planning services – In last four years states have shown their commitment to strengthen fixed day family planning services for both IUCD and sterilization.
  • Scheme for Home delivery of contraceptives by ASHAs at doorstep of beneficiaries.
  • Scheme for ASHAs to ensure spacing in births
  • Celebration of World Population Day & fortnight (July 11 – July 24):

 o   The World Population Day celebration is a step to boost Family Planning efforts all over the country.

 o   The event is observed over a month long period, split into an initial fortnight of mobilization/sensitization followed by a fortnight of assured family planning service delivery.

 o   June 27 to July 10: “Dampati Sampark Pakhwada” or “Mobilisation Fortnight”

 o   July 11 to July 24 “Jansankhya Sthirtha Pakhwada” or “Population Stabilisation Fortnight” 

  On-going Interventions under Family Planning Programme :

  • Ensuring quality of care in Family Planning services by establishing Quality Assurance Committees in all state and districts.
  • Increasing male participation and promotion of ‘Non Scalpel Vasectomy’’.
  • Operating the ‘National Family Planning Indemnity Scheme’ (NFPIS) under which clients are insured in the eventualities of deaths, complications and failures following sterilization and the providers/ accredited institutions are indemnified against litigations in those eventualities.
  • Compensation scheme for sterilization acceptors – under the scheme MoHFW provides compensation for loss of wages to the beneficiaries on account of undergoing sterilisation.
  • Accreditation of more private/ NGO facilities to increase the provider base for family planning services under PPP.
  • Improving contraceptives supply management up to peripheral facilities
  • A rational human resource development plan is in place for provision of IUCD, Minilap and NSV to empower the facilities (DH, CHC, PHC, SHC) with at least one provider each for each of the services and Sub Centres with ANMs trained in IUCD insertion
  • Emphasis on Minilap Tubectomy services because of its logistical simplicity with less failure rates.
  • Demand generation activities in the form of display of posters, billboards and other audio and video materials in the various facilities


  • Prerna Strategy:- JSK has launched this strategy for helping to push up the age of marriage of girls and delay in first child and spacing in second child birth in the interest of health of young mothers and infants. The couple who adopt this strategy awarded suitably. This helps to change the mindsets of the community.
  • Santushti Strategy:- Under this strategy, Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh, invites private sector gynaecologists and vasectomy surgeons to conduct sterilization operations in Public Private Partnership mode. The private hospitals/nursing home who achieved target of 10 or more are suitably awarded as per strategy.


  • Providing employment to growing population:
  • Problem of utilisation of manpower
  • Over-strained infrastructure
  • Pressure on land and other renewable natural resources
  • Increased cost of production
  • Inequitable distribution of income
  • Poverty


  • What we need tohasten the fertility decline to ensure that the health and family welfare system is up to this challenge and provides Contraception and sexual and reproductive health services that allow  indivi-duals to have only as many children as they want.


  • India needs to invest more in the health sector. India invests only 1.3% of its GDP. The family planning budget is only 4% of the entire health budget and within that India spends only 1.5% on birth spacing methods.
    • Investments should be made particularly for the old people because by the year 2050, India’s population of old people is going to grow almost 10 times more.
  • Education is very important, not only for empowering women but for fertility to decline
  • India needs to focus on some areas which are socially, culturally, economically depressed. Identification of 140 high focussed districts is the right step by the government in this direction. However, it needs to work in the whole of Bihar, U.P., Madhya Pradesh and Assam.
  • India needs to give huge stress on declining sex ratios and the discrimination towards girls so that people don’t have a high number of children in the hope of having a boy.
  • India can achieve a number of SDGs if it links them with family planning. Family planning is a promotive and preventive method for bringing down maternal mortality and child mortality.
  • It is important to see the issue of population growth not only from the national perspective but also from the state’s point of view i.e. different states need to be encouraged to take necessary steps for containing the population.


QUESTION: How populism in the politics threatens the idea of secularism in India? Suggest the ways to deal with it.”



  • Secular Identity of India and challenges ahead


  • Secularism in India faces multiple challenges. This article analyses challenge the Indian secularism faces from the party-political secularisms.


  • Constitutional secularism is marked by at least two features.
  • First, critical respect for all religions.
  • Unlike some secularisms, ours is not blindly anti-religious but respects religion.
  • It respects not one but all religions.
  • Every aspect of religious doctrine or practice cannot be respected but respect for religion must be accompanied by critique.
  • Second, intervene whenever religious groups promote communal disharmony.
  • Thus, it has to constantly decide when to engage or disengage, help or hinder religion depending entirely on which of these enhances our constitutional commitment to freedom, equality and fraternity.


  • Secularism has paid a heavy price in our country for being at the centre of public and political discourse.
  • Populism based politics is indifferent to freedom and equality-based religious reform, it has removed critical from the term ‘critical respect’.
  • It has even been complicit in igniting communal violence.
  • This party-political ‘secular’ state, cozying up alternately to the fanatical fringe of the minority and the majority, was readymade for takeover by a majoritarian party.
  • This takeover was accomplished by removing the word ‘all’ and replacing it by ‘majority’.
  • Today, Indian constitutional secularism is swallowed up by this party-political secularism, with not a little help from the Opposition, media and judiciary.
  • ADVENT OF OPPORTUNISM(the practice of using situations unfairly to get an advantage for yourself without thinking about how your actions will affect other people) :
  • Party-political secularism, born around 40 years ago, is a nefarious doctrine practised by all political parties, including by so-called ‘secular forces’.
  • This secularism has dispelled all values from the core idea and replaced them with opportunism.
  • Opportunistic distance (engagement or disengagement), but mainly opportunistic alliance with religious communities, particularly for the sake of immediate electoral benefit, is its unspoken slogan.
  • Today, Indian constitutional secularism is swallowed up by this party-political secularism, with not a little help from the Opposition, media and judiciary.


  • Two crucial moves are needed to kick-start the discourse and practice of secularism.
  • First, a shift of focus from a politically-led project to a socially-driven movement for justice.
  • Second, a shift of emphasis from inter-religious to intra-religious issues.
  • R. Ambedkar dispassionately observed that when two roughly equal communities view each other as enemies, they get trapped in a majority-minority syndrome, a vicious cycle of spiralling political conflict and social alienation.
  • After all, the Indian project of secularism has been thwarted as much by party-politics as by religious orthodoxy and dogma.


  • The term “Secular” means being “separate” from religion, or having no religious basis.
  • A secular person is one who does not owe his moral values to any religion. His values are the product of his rational and scientific thinking.
  • Secularism means separation of religion from political, economic, social and cultural aspects of life, religion being treated as a purely personal matter.
  • It emphasized dissociation of the state from religion and full freedom to all religions and tolerance of all religions.
  • It also stands for equal opportunities for followers of all religions, and no discrimination and partiality on grounds of religion.


  • The term ‘secularism’ is akin to the Vedic concept of ‘Dharma nirapekshata’ i.e. the indifference of state to religion.
  • This model of secularism is adopted by western societies where the government is totally separate from religion (i.e. separation of church and state).
  • Indian philosophy of secularism is related to “Sarva Dharma Sambhava” (literally it means that destination of the paths followed by all religions is the same, though the paths themselves may be different) which means equal respect to all religions.
  • This concept, embraced and promoted by personalities like Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi is called ‘Positive secularism’ that reflects the dominant ethos of Indian culture.


  • The term ‘Secular’ was added to the preamble by the forty-second constitution Amendment Act of 1976, (India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republic).
  • While Article 14 grants equality before the law and equal protection of the laws to all, Article 15 enlarges the concept of secularism to the widest possible extent by prohibiting discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
  • Article 16 (1) guarantees equality of opportunity to all citizens in matters of public employment and reiterates that there would be no discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth and residence.
  • Article 25 provides ‘Freedom of Conscience’, that is, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practise and propagate religion.
  • As per Article 26, every religious group or individual has the right to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes and to manage its own affairs in matters of religion.
  • As per Article 27, the state shall not compel any citizen to pay any taxes for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious institution.
  • Article 28 allows educational institutions maintained by different religious groups to impart religious instruction.
  • Article 29 and Article 30 provides cultural and educational rights to the minorities.
  • Article 51A i.e. Fundamental Duties obliges all the citizens to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood and to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.


  • As per the western model of secularism, the “State” and the “religion” have their own separate spheres and neither the state nor the religion shall intervene in each other’s affairs.
  • Thus, the western concept of secularism requires complete separation of religion and state.
  • However, in India, neither in law nor in practice any ‘wall of separation’ between religion and the State exists.
  • In India, both state and religion can, and often do, interact and intervene in each other’s affairs within the legally prescribed and judicially settled parameters.
  • As per the western model, the state cannot give any financial support to educational institutions run by religious communities.
  • In the western model, State does not intervene in the affairs of religion till the time religion is working within the limits of the law.
  • India has intervened by enforcing legislation against the practices of sati or widow-burning, dowry, animal and bird sacrifice, child marriage, and preventing Dalits from entering temples.
  • In western concept of secularism, religion is relegated entirely to the private sphere and has no place in public life whatsoever.
  • The western model prohibits any public policy to be drafted on the basis of religion therefore; state is absolutely distanced from the religious activities and practices of its citizens.
  • In India, state has the policy of setting up Departments of Religious Endowments, Wakf Boards, etc. It is also involved in appointing Trustees of these boards.


  • While, the Indian Constitution declares the state being absolutely neutral to all religion, our society has steeped in religion.
  • Mingling of Religion and Politics that is mobilisation of votes on grounds of primordial identities like religion, caste and ethnicity, have put Indian secularism in danger.
  • Communal politics operates through communalization of social space, by spreading myths and stereotypes against minorities, through attack on rational values and by practicing a divisive ideological propaganda and politics.
  • Politicisation of any one religious group leads to the competitive politicisation of other groups, thereby resulting in inter-religious conflict.
  • One of the manifestations of communalism is communal riots. In recent past also, communalism has proved to be a great threat to the secular fabric of Indian polity.
  • Rise of Hindu Nationalism in recent years have resulted into mob lynching on mere suspicion of slaughtering cows and consuming beef.
  • In addition with this, forced closure of slaughterhouses, campaigns against ‘love jihad’, reconversion or ghar- wapsi (Muslims being forced to convert to Hinduism), etc. reinforces communal tendencies in society.
  • Islamic fundamentalism or revivalism pushes for establishing Islamic State based on sharia law which directly comes into conflict with conceptions of the secular and democratic state.
  • In recent years there have been stray incidences of Muslim youth being inspired and radicalized by groups like ISIS which is very unfortunate for both India and world.


  • The political project of secularism arose precisely because religious toleration no longer worked and needs of today are new forms of socio-religious reciprocity, crucial for the business of everyday life and novel ways of reducing the political alienation of citizens.


  • In a pluralistic society, the best approach to nurture secularism is to expand religious freedom rather than strictly practicing state neutrality.
  • It is incumbent on us to ensure value-education that makes the younger generation understands and appreciates not only its own religious traditions but also those of the other religions in the country.
  • There is also a need to identify a common framework or a shared set of values which allows the diverse groups to live together.
  • The prerequisites to implement the social reform initiative like Uniform Civil Code are to create a conducive environment and forging socio-political consensus.

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