Population stabilisation must for development: Azad

New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) Population stabilisation is a critical determinant of development and improvement in the quality of life, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said here Wednesday.

“During the last century, the population of India has increased from 23.8 crore in 1901 to 121 crore in 2011,” Azad said at a meeting of the consultative committee of parliament attached to the ministry of health and family welfare.

“There has been a sharp decline in the growth rate, from 21.54 percent in 1990-2000 to 17.64 percent during 2001-11. The total fertility rate has come down from six in 1951 to 2.4 in 2011,” he said.

Listing the steps taken by his government for population stabilisation, Azad said that the central government has introduced several initiatives to encourage people adopt the small family norm.

Contraceptives have been made available at the doorstep through 8.6 lakh Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), who go to each house in rural India distributing contraceptives, Azad added.

Members who attended the meeting included Samajwadi Party’s Shailendra Kumar and the Congress’ Girija Vyas and Oscar Fernandes.

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