Niti Aayog is organising a national consultation programme titled ‘Realising the vision of population stabilisation: leaving no one behind’ on Friday, December 20, 2019 at NITI Bhavan, New Delhi in partnership with Population Foundation of India (PFI), leading to speculation as to whether this is the first step in the Narendra Modi government’s attempt to dictate terms of family planning and numbers of children that an Indian family can have. Till now, there is no clarity if the government’s ultimate aim is in fixing family size.
The meet will bring together senior officials, experts and subject matter specialists to discuss “ways and means of strengthening India’s population policy and family planning programmes”, a Press Information Bureau press release said. “The recommendations from the consultation will contribute to a NITI Aayog working paper to help achieve India’s vision of attaining population stabilization, as voiced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 August 2019,” it added.
Some of the recommendations expected to emerge from the meeting are as follows as pointed out in the release:
“Increasing the basket of contraceptive choices, with a greater focus on spacing methods and helping women make informed choices about delaying pregnancy and spacing between children.
Addressing social determinants of health such as age at marriage and sex-selective practices.
Strengthening the quality of care, including counselling services, managing side effects and family planning support.
Increasing budgetary allocations for family planning, to align with the unmet needs of India’s young people who constitute nearly 30 per cent of our population.
Addressing existing socio-cultural barriers towards contraception by investing extensively in innovative behaviour-change communication strategies.
Treating population stabilisation and family planning as a national priority, fostering inter-departmental convergence and ensuring multisectoral participation and integration.”