The Union government has told the Supreme Court it is against the use of “involuntary methods” in family planning, saying international experience has shown that any coercion to have a certain number of children would be counter-productive and would lead to demographic distortions.
“The family planning program in India is voluntary in nature, which allows couples to decide on their family size and adopt the family planning methods that suit them best, as per their choice, without any coercion,” said the Ministry of Health and Family. Welfare said.
The ministry’s response came in an affidavit to a petition filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in the Supreme Court for taking steps to strictly enforce the two-child standard.
The Union Government maintained that “public health” was a subject of state, being placed in entry 6 of Schedule II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. He is of the view that the state should lead the process of health sector reforms in an appropriate and sustainable manner to protect the ordinary individual from health risks, the government said.
Stating that it had no direct role, the government said it was a prerogative of the respective state government to implement various programs according to prescribed guidelines. “By allocating funds, it facilitates the implementation of approved programs,” he said.
“Furthermore, India is witnessing a steady decline in the Total Fertility Rate (TRF), which was 3.2 at the time of the enactment of the National Population Policy in 2000. It has now dropped significantly to 2 .2, indicating that couples on average want no more than two children.Furthermore, as many as 25 out of 36 states and union territories have already reached the replacement level of fertility of 2.1 or less.”
Responding to the affidavit, petitioner Upadhyay said, “It is very unfortunate that officials do not even know that population control and family planning are on the concurrent list (List-III, entry 20A), d ‘where the power of the Center to pass a population control law.”
However, the government, for its part, pointed out that according to the census, 2001-2011 is the first decade in 100 years that not only added less population compared to previous ones, but also saw a sharp drop in the growth rate. ten-year period from 21.54% in 1991 to 2001 to 17.64% in 2001-2011.
The government has also listed various schemes and programs such as observance of World Population Day, Parivar Vikas Mission, Sterilization Acceptor Compensation Scheme, Home Delivery of Contraceptives and 360 Degree Media Campaigns to achieve the goal of population stabilization and advance the country’s development goals.