The Indian government is planning to slow down population growth, even as the United Nation's World Population Prospect report last year said that India's population would exceed 1.4 billion and surpass China's by 2024.
Minister for Health and Family Welfare J.P. Nadda said that the government will draw up a micro plan for specific districts where the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) rates have been consistently high, reported The Hindu.
He said that 24 states and Union Territories in the country (out of a total of 29 states and seven Union Territories) have achieved the TFR of 2.1%. Population stabilisation is said to be achieved at a TFR of 2.1 because a population just replaces itself at that rate.
“Nine states and Union territories have a TFR between 2.2-3.0%, while three states, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Meghalaya, have a TFR of 3% or more,” he added.
“We have identified 146 districts across seven states — Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh — that have high TFR, for this project,” said Mr Nadda. According to the 2011 census, 44.2% of India’s population reside in these states.
“Among the things that are part of the plan is a range of contraceptive devices, medicines, counselling, special classes for family planning and in cases where there are social barriers, to work with institutions to dispel doubts,” added Mr Nadda.
Separately, the Ministry of Finance in its Economic Survey 2017-2018 report indicated that the population is short of 63 million women. The report estimates that nearly 2 million women are lost every year. The report further estimates that an additional 21 million girls are “unwanted” by their parents who would have preferred a boy instead.
According to figures cited by the Economic Survey report, India’s sex ratio at birth in 2014 approached 1.11, far exceeding the expected natural gender ratio. India's current population exceeds 1.3 billion.