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Population and Reproductive Autonomy UPSC NOTE


Family planning initiatives - India’s progress

  • India deserves to be commended for its family planning initiatives.

    • Modern short and long-acting reversible contraceptives, permanent methods, information, counselling, and services, including emergency contraception.

  • India’s commitment towards the Family Planning 2030 partnership includes expanding its contraceptive basket. 

  • The inclusion of new contraceptive options advances women’s rights and autonomy, leading to a spike in modern contraceptive prevalence.

  • Access to timely, quality and affordable family planning services is crucial because unspaced pregnancies may have a detrimental influence on the new-born’s health as well as major effects on maternal mortality, morbidity, and health-care expenditure.

  • The Indian government’s health, population and development programmes have shown steady progress over the years. 

  • Life expectancy at birth has significantly increased in the country over the years. 

  • In terms of maternal health, India has made impressive strides. 

  • Another triumph of these programmes is gender empowerment. 

  • Since the beginning of 2000, India has cut the number of child marriages by half. 

  • Teen pregnancies, too, have dramatically decreased. 

  • Access to vital services, including health, education, and nutrition, has also improved.

What is meant by reproductive autonomy?

  • Reproductive autonomy refers to an individual’s right and ability to make informed decisions regarding their reproductive health and choices without interference, coercion, or discrimination.

  • It encompasses the freedom to decide whether or when to have children, the number of children to have, and the spacing between pregnancies.

  • Reproductive autonomy includes access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare services, including family planning methods, contraceptives, sexual education, prenatal care, safe abortion services, and support for reproductive health decisions.


Population and reproductive autonomy

  • The theme of this year’s World Population Day, i.e., ‘Unleashing the power of gender equality: Uplifting the voices of women and girls to unlock our world’s infinite possibilities’.

  • In India, the world’s most populous nation, the template for women-led development, be it in science, technology, agriculture, education or health care, must also include reproductive autonomy at its core.

  • Population stability comes when reproductive and sexual health decisions are free of discrimination, coercion and violence.

  • Many women continue to lack physical autonomy. 

  • According to the most recent National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), 

    • Just 10% of women in India are independently able to take decisions about their own health.

    • 11% of women believe that marital violence is acceptable if a woman refuses to have sex with her husband.

    • Nearly half of all pregnancies in India are unplanned, as they are globally.

  • In countries experiencing rapid population growth, women’s empowerment through education and family planning can bring enormous benefits by way of human capital and inclusive economic development. 

  • The focus on gender equality helps shift the focus away from the notion of ‘population stabilisation’ to ‘population dynamics’ based on reproductive choices people make.

Opportunities for India and way forward

  • India has a significant opportunity to advance gender equality and grow its economy. 

  • In fact, raising the women’s labour force participation by 10 percentage points might account for more than 70% of the potential GDP growth opportunity ($770 billion in additional GDP by 2025).

  • Focusing on gender equality-centred growth, rights, and choices promises to help all achieve their aspirations. 

  • Gender equality can be ensured by making investments in a woman’s life at every stage, from childbirth to adolescence to maturity.

  • Engaging with women, girls and other marginalised people and formulating legislation and policies that empower them to assert their rights and take life changing personal decisions are the first steps in this direction.

  • Gender-just approaches and solutions are the fundamental building blocks of a more prosperous India, and indeed the world.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Population and Reproductive Autonomy UPSC NOTE
Population and Reproductive Autonomy UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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