World Population Day: call to end India's target-based approach to family planning

Two-child norm is endangering women's lives and skewing sex-ratio, say activists

Brushing aside fears of population explosion in India, civil society groups working in the area of family planning stressed that India must revise its family planning programme. They were speaking at a media briefing in New Delhi on the eve of the World Population Day that falls on July 11. They also said that attaching the condition of two-child norm for panchayat elections should end as it is working against women in some states. The civil society groups had public consultations in 13 states and have made certain recommendations to the Union health ministry prior to the London summit on family planning on Wednesday (see box).

Recommendation to remove targets for female sterilisation
Civil society groups had public consultations in 13 states: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. Some of the recommendations they have submitted to the Union health ministry are as follows:
  • Information on reproductive and sexual health and rights should be given to all women, men and young people
  • Revise national population policy 2000 and shift its focus from demographic to individual rights-based policy
  • Ensure that contraceptives and spacing methods are widely available to couples even outside marriage without any stigma Remove the pressure of targets for female sterilization

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