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More than half a billion Indians are under 25 years of age. 26 million babies are born each year. According to a Report of the Technical Group on Population Projections for India and States 2001-2026, Census of India, 2001 - 

  • The population of India is expected to increase from 1029 million to 1400 million during the period 2001-2026 - an increase of 36 percent in twenty-five years at the rate of 1.2 percent annually. While India's population growth rate has been declining over the years, the overall population will continue to grow as 51% of the population is in the reproductive age group (15-49). Millions more will join this cohort each year. At current levels, it may take several decades more to stabilize the population.

  • Out of the total population increase of 371 million between 2001 and 2026, 

  • 187 million are likely to be added in the seven States of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal i.e. nearly 50 percent of India's demographic growth.

  • Twenty two percent of the total population increase is anticipated to occur in Uttar Pradesh alone. 

  • In contrast, the contribution of the four southern states, namely Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, to the total increase in population size is expected to be 47 million - thirteen percent of total demographic growth of the country. 



(
Source: National Commission on Population, MOHFW 2006)

The total fertility rate which signifies the number of children, an average woman produces during her reproductive years should have been 2.1 if goal for 2010 set out in the National Population Policy had been achieved. The states of Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Maharashtra, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and some UTs have achieved this. We are a very long way from reaching that goal in the EAG states (UP, Bihar, MP, Rajasthan, Orissa, Uttranchal, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh) where 40% of the population lives. At the current rate of decline, it will take many states between 18 to 45 years to achieve the TFR of 2.1. Special measures are vitally necessary to reduce the TFR in these states.

Percent Share of Population by Age Groups in India (Source: NCP, MHFW 2006)

This has very serious consequences on sustainable development both economic and social. It requires the involvement of the whole society to drive a meaningful change. Simply building awareness will not achieve tangible outcomes. While general knowledge about family planning is almost universal, access to modern methods of contraception services and products is a big problem in many states. This has a direct impact on the health of women who have to bear the consequences of repeated unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions; also in giving birth to undernourished children with poor chances of survival or normal growth.

 

 
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