Population slowdown is triumph of India's people
The Indian Express Delhi|November 28, 2021
WHEN THE Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released the findings of the fifth National Family Health Survey (NFHS), documenting government data on health and family welfare issues, there were a flurry of chest-thumping declarations. Many in the media reported that India's population had "stabilised" and some even claimed that it had begun "declining".
POONAM MUTTREJA

This is not entirely true. According to the findings, India's total fertility rate (TFR) - the average number of children born to a woman in the country over her lifetime - has slipped to 2.0. According to the United Nations, if women have on an average 2.1 children each over a sustained period of time, the population neither grows nor declines and thus stabilises. This means that for India's population to stabilise or decline, it would have to maintain a TFR equal to or less than 2.1 fora sustained period of decades.

Regardless, this drop in India's TFR, which stood at almost 6 in the 1950s, to its current levels is a significant feat. The credit for this achievement must go to the people of India, along with successive governments, especially the bureaucracy. This drop is a sign of changing aspirations, especially among women, who are seeing the wisdom of having fewer children.

Started as back as 1951, India's family planning programme is among the world's oldest. The earliest government communication campaigns sought to promote smaller families. But there was little progress as India continued to see rapid population growth.

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