ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Family Planning Not Cut.

Weekly Notes from Vol X, No 23, June 7, 1958

India’s Finance Minister, Shri Morarji Desai, may not recognise t hat I ndia has a populat ion ‘problem’, the Congress, as a political party, has done so for nearly two decades now. The National Planning Committee, set up by the Congress before the war, had recognised that in the interests of social economy and family happiness, family planning and a limitation of children were essential and had resolved t hat t he State should adopt an act ive policy to encourage both. Some pioneering work in this field has been done by voluntary agencies in Bombay labour areas and elsewhere. From the First Plan onwards, of course, family planning has been taken up officially, but though much is heard about it and a consid­ erable literature has grown up on the subject, stripped of platitudes, there is very little in­ formation on t he basic requirements of a pro­ gramme of birth control – cost of production and distribution of birth control appliances.

While other social services have suffered some cuts, not so family planning. The pro­ gramme has been “intensified” by being inte­ grated to other health services. From Rs 65 lakhs in the First Plan, the provision for fam­ ily planning was increased in the Second Plan to Rs 497 lakhs – Rs 400 lakhs at the Centre and Rs 97 lakhs in the States – distri­ buted as follows: service Rs 373.25 lakhs, training Rs 15.75 lakhs, education Rs 50 lakhs and research Rs 50 lakhs. Service covers opening of 2,500 clinics in the Second Plan period, 500 urban and 2000 rural. From this point onwards, it becomes difficult to follow the progress, for each of the urban clinics is expected normally to serve a population of 50 thousand. Rural clinics are to serve 66 thou­ sand. In the expenditure allotted to each of these clinics, the provision made for ‘stocks of contraceptives for sale at cost price’ appears to be extremely inadequate, nor does family planning appear to be taking up the question of their manufacture or sale. The list of ap­ proved contraceptives supplied by the family planning centres or clinics cover the usual ap­ pliances sold by the trade. In view of the im­ portance of their manufacture and sale in a tropical country and the profiteering which is common in such trades all the world over, the neglect of these basic requirements seems inexplicable.

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