Published: Tuesday 15 August 2000

A special technology mission is being set up by the government for states that have unsatisfactory population control records. The states are Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Assam, Bihar and Rajasthan. C P Thakur, the Union health and family welfare minister, said that the mission will help in providing focused attention to these states which have below average socio-demographic indices ( Down To Earth , Vol 9, No 3).

Speaking at a seminar on 'Population and Development: Prospects for Private-Public Partnership, held on the World Population Day, he said, "Special efforts have to be made in these states since the population control record here will determine the pace at which India achieves population stability." He added that the National Population Policy 2000 conceives a model shift in terms of programme management and implementation. It also sought the participation of the private sector.

Pointing out the difference in the mortality and fertility rates among various states, vice-chairperson of the National Population Commission K C Pant said, "While the mortality and fertility rates of Kerala are very less and can be compared to those prevailing in developed countries, states such as UP, MP, Bihar, Rajasthan and Assam have much higher rates. Instead of the states coming to us, we are going to them to help them improve their family planning programmes".

The Uttar Pradesh government has recently announced its population policy, which will go hand-in-hand with literacy programmes, with a thrust on voluntary control of population. Under the policy, for the first time, panchayats have been asked to play a much wider role in controlling population. They will be actively involved in popularising the concept of 'small family, happy family' by maintaining a record of births, deaths and marriages.

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