Hot Topic : Drop in Fertility Rate in India : GS-2 Mains Health 

Short Notes or Micro Notes 

Question : Examine the implications of declining fertility rates in India, as highlighted by Lancet research, and discuss the reasons behind this trend, including government policies, changes in societal norms, and economic factors.

Major Findings:

  • Fertility Rate Decline: 6.2 in 1950 to under 2 in 2021 (Lancet research).
  • Projected Decline: 1.29 by 2050 and 1.04 by 2100 (below replacement rate of 2.1).
  • Consequences:
    • Depleting Working Population.
    • Increase in Senior Citizens (1 in 5 by 2050).

Reasons for Decline:

  • Government Policy: Family Welfare Programme promoting smaller families.
  • Decline in Infant Mortality: Smaller families become the norm.
  • Rise in Female Literacy and Workforce Participation: Women prioritize careers and economic independence.
  • Economic Factors: Rising living costs, dual incomes, and desire for better living standards.


  • Rise in Elderly Population: Over 20% senior citizens by 2050.
  • Labor Force Decline: Challenges in finding skilled workers.
  • Healthcare Challenges: Increased demand for healthcare services.
  • Social Security Strain: Challenges for pension and retirement funds.

Government Initiatives:

  • National Health Mission (NHM): Strengthening healthcare, including maternal and child health services (indirectly influences fertility).
  • Family Planning Program: Promoting contraceptive use and reproductive health awareness.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY): Financial assistance for pregnant/lactating mothers (improves maternal and child health, indirectly supports fertility).

Way Forward:

  • Proactive approach needed for future challenges.
  • Learn from models like Sweden and Denmark:
    • Affordable childcare.
    • Investment in healthcare.
    • Male-engagement initiatives for gender equity.
  • Distribution of household chores to enable women to manage career and motherhood.
  • Economic policies for growth, job creation, and social security reforms.

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