Instead of bringing up children totally insulated from the social system and realities, parents should ensure that children were very aware of their social and familial responsibilities.

Though the State could make considerable gains in population control, it is left grappling with the social consequences of an aggressive family planning programme, speakers pointed out at a seminar organised by the Health Department, in connection with the observance of World Population Day here on Wednesday.

Speaking on the occasion, Sobha Koshy, Chief Postmaster General, Kerala Circle, pointed out that though Kerala had wholeheartedly embraced the idea of ‘Small family, happy family,’ its social consequences had not entirely been very happy. Unlike the previous generation, which had grown up in a joint family set-up, the children from nuclear families clearly lacked good interpersonal, social, and communication skills, which often seemed to reflect in their workplace behaviour, Ms. Koshy observed.

Instead of bringing up children totally insulated from the social system and realities, parents should ensure that children were very aware of their social and familial responsibilities, she added.

Women’s health

A.R. Supriya, Director, Centre for Adult Continuing Education and Extension, pointed out that population control had several social dimensions, including the problems of ageing and a family planning system which was totally women-centric, which had a direct bearing on women’s health.

One also needed to contemplate if population control alone could help in resolving the current problems of poverty and environmental degradation, she said.

Happiness factor

V. Vijayakumar, Head of Community Medicine, Medical College, said in any society, its most valuable asset was its people. Kerala actually needed more young people engaged productively in social and economic sectors and, may be, equating small family size as the key to happiness might be a folly.

New approach

Earlier, inaugurating the meeting, Health Minister, V.S. Sivakumar said the government was committed to the welfare of girl children and the elderly.

The burgeoning population of the elderly and the advent of nuclear families now conspired to create a social situation wherein many elderly were leading lonely lives without anyone to take care of them.

The government would need to evolve a new approach and devise new schemes to take care of the requirements of the elderly, he said.

Director of Health Services P.K. Jameela; Adviser to the Government, Gender and Child Protection, Lida Jacob; K. Muraleedharan, MLA; Mayor K. Chandrika; among others, spoke.