Though India’s decadal growth rate of population has declined significantly from 21.54 per cent in 1991-2000 to 17.64 per cent in 2001-11, the country needs to do much more to promote reproductive rights of females.
Population Foundation of India, an NGO which works as a think tank on population issues, on Friday demanded inclusion of family planning as a specific objective in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to allow population programmes in India become effective.As India shifts its focus from population stabilization to ensuring reproductive rights and empowering women, the key focus needs to be on people and not numbers, the NGO said ahead of the World Population Day tomorrow.”The country needs to strengthen and implement its policies effectively to fulfill the reproductive needs and rights of women so that every mother and child is healthy,” said Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director of Population Foundation of India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though India’s decadal growth rate of population has declined significantly from 21.54 per cent in 1991-2000 to 17.64 per cent in 2001-11, the country needs to do much more to promote reproductive rights of females, which is critical for sustainable development, she said.With 2.3 fertility rate, India is now just 0.2 points away from reaching the replacement level, as per the Sample Registration System, Office of Registrar General, India, 2011-13. “Despite commendable progress in a number of areas, significant inequalities continue to persist in women’s access to education, healthcare, physical and financial resources,” said Muttreja. “Programs that educate them to influence their health and consequently their overall wellbeing are an absolute priority.Together with education, family planning and honouring reproductive rights of women are one of the best investments towards their empowerment. “India’s family planning programme focuses on sterilization while the greatest need is to provide young people with comprehensive sexuality education and a broader contraceptive choice beyond female sterilization, male sterilization, IUCD, oral contraceptives, and condoms,” she said.As per Census 2011, women constitute 48 per cent of India’s population. The adolescent population (10-19) is 253.2 million (20.9 per cent of total population). Of these, 119.8 million are girls, constituting 47.3 per cent of the adolescent population.