Poverty Eradication – Definition, Debates, etc.

Education ‘remains the most effective contraceptive


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Observation by National Family Health Surveys (NFHS)

Mains level: Challenges faced by deprived section of the society

Why in the news? 

India’s current population of 1.4 billion is projected to peak at 1.7 billion by 2064, then stabilize at 1.53 billion by 2100, as fertility rates decline below replacement level.

What does the United Nations speak on Indian demographics?

  • India overtook China as the world’s most populous country. UN estimates project India’s population to peak at 1.7 billion around 2064, then settle at 1.53 billion by 2100.
  • Population growth is slowing, with the total fertility rate dipping below the replacement level of 2.1.

What do the National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) observed recently?

  • Association with Education: There is a significant correlation between levels of education and unmet needs for family planning among married women in India, highlighting the importance of education in addressing reproductive health issues.
  • High Demand for Family Planning: There remains a notable demand for family planning services, particularly among young women aged 15-24, indicating ongoing challenges in meeting reproductive health needs effectively across different age groups.

Challenges faced by a deprived section of society                           

  • Limited Access to Family Planning Services: Women from disadvantaged backgrounds often face barriers in accessing contraceptives and family planning services due to social norms, lack of education, and cultural taboos surrounding contraception.
  • Teenage Pregnancies and Early Marriages: High rates of teenage pregnancies and early marriages contribute to health risks for young women, exacerbated by limited awareness about sexual and reproductive health rights and options.
  • Social Stigma and Cultural Norms: Deep-rooted societal attitudes and stigmas surrounding sexual activity, contraception, and abortion hinder open discussions and access to comprehensive sexual education and healthcare services, particularly for unmarried individuals.

What can India do to improve social conditions?

  • Enhancing Education and Awareness: Increase access to comprehensive sex education in schools and communities to empower young people with knowledge about contraception, family planning, and reproductive health rights.
  • Addressing Cultural Norms and Stigma: Challenge societal taboos and misconceptions surrounding contraception and sexual activity through culturally sensitive communication and advocacy efforts.
  • Expanding Healthcare Access: Ensure equitable access to affordable and quality healthcare services, including reproductive health services, particularly in rural and underserved areas.
  • Reforming Legal Frameworks: Reform laws and policies related to reproductive rights and access to safe abortion services to ensure women have autonomy over their reproductive decisions and can access safe and legal abortion services without unnecessary restrictions.

Steps taken by the government related to health: 

  • Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY): This scheme aims to provide health coverage to over 500 million people, offering a cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. Over 4.68 crore cards have been issued under the scheme.
  • Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC) through Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs): Launched in February 2018, this initiative aims to provide an expanded range of services closer to the community, including care for non-communicable diseases, palliative and rehabilitative care, oral, eye and ENT care, and mental health services.
  • Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY): This scheme, launched in 2003, aims to correct regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country. Under this, new AIIMS are being set up and existing medical colleges are being upgraded

Way forward: 

  • Integrated Approach to Education and Healthcare: Implement integrated programs that combine comprehensive sex education in schools with improved access to healthcare services, ensuring young people are empowered with knowledge and resources for reproductive health.
  • Community Engagement and Advocacy: Foster community dialogues and advocacy campaigns to challenge cultural norms and stigma around reproductive health, promoting open discussions and awareness-building initiatives across all demographics.

Mains PYQ:

Q Demographic Dividend in India will remain only theoretical unless our manpower becomes more educated, aware, skilled and creative.” What measures have been taken by the government to enhance the capacity of our population to be more productive and employable? (UPSC IAS/2016)

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