Improving conditions of women have helped India control its fast rising population. According to the World Bank, the fertility rate of women in India has come down from 3.31 children per woman in 2000 to 2.3 in 2017. Dr Paulomi Tripathi, a first secretary in India’s UN Mission noted India had emerged successful in cutting down the population rate. And how is this happening? She says, there is improvement in women’s quality of living. “Better health and education facilities for women, greater participation of women in governance at grassroots level coupled with enhanced access to family planning services have contributed to rapid fall in the fertility rate and population growth rate in India.”

Population policies should address social development, especially the advancement of women, and that family planning should be provided as part of a broader package of health care, enlarged the scope of policy discussions – Dr Tripathi

India’s current population is 1.33 billion and we are well on our march to beat China within a decade. A high-level meeting to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was held in Cairo. Dr Tripathi, who was present at this meeting said controlling population growth globally had moved away from setting targets to “improving the lives of individuals, particularly women, to induce demographic changes.”

Behind the new approach was “a belief that enhancing individual health and realization of other rights would ultimately lower birth rate and slow population growth,” she said. Post the 1994 meeting, India has been following this approach. To improve the health facilities available in the country, the government also launched the National Health Protection Scheme, to provide medical coverage for 500 million people. This universal health coverage ensures the availability of better health conditions for everyone.

“The holistic, service-oriented approach reflected in ICPD Programme of Action remains relevant for addressing emerging challenges and opportunities in the context of rapid urbanization and population ageing,” Tripathi said.

“The holistic, service-oriented approach reflected in ICPD Programme of Action remains relevant for addressing emerging challenges and opportunities in the context of rapid urbanization and population ageing,” Tripathi said. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that though population growth is a sign of people living longer and happier, it does impact the environment in a negative way and that is why it is harmful. India currently comprises 18 per cent of the world’s population, with 1.34 billion people.

As of 2019, 48.03 per cent of India’s population is female. Even by 2095, these statistics of the female population is expected to grow to 49.17 per cent only. Out of this, 16.2% of women population is illiterate. India is also the largest intermediate fertility country, where women have on average, 2.1 to 5 births in their lifetime.

Read More: World Population Day: India Set To Be The Most Populous Nation By 2027

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