Health data shows India doesn’t need a two-child policy: experts

While there is no national policy mandating two children per family, BJP leaders have sought one.   | Photo Credit: V. V. Krishnan

The latest data from the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) provides evidence of an uptake in the use of modern contraceptives in rural and urban areas, an improvement in family planning demands being met, and a decline in the average number of children borne by a woman, and prove that the country’s population is stabilising and fears over a “population explosion” and calls for a “two-child policy” are misguided, say experts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech in 2019 appealed to the country that population control was a form of patriotism. Months later, the NITI Aayog called various stakeholders for a national-level consultation on the issue, which was subsequently cancelled following media glare on it. In 2020, the PM spoke about a likely decision on revising the age of marriage for women, which many stakeholders view as an indirect attempt at controlling the population size.

The first part of the NFHS-5 report, which was made public earlier this month, records data for 17 States and five Union Territories. The analysis of the data by the international non-profit Population Council (PC) shows that the Total Fertility Rate (number of children born per woman) has decreased across 14 out of 17 States and is either at 2.1 children per woman or less.