UNITED NATIONS – India has reduced its rate of population growth by improving conditions for women, according to Paulomi Tripathi, first secretary of the United Nations Indian Mission.
“Better health and education facilities for women, greater participation of women in governance at the local level coupled with improved access to family planning services have contributed to a rapid decline in fertility and childbirth rates. population growth in India, “Tripathi said here on August 7 at a high-level meeting to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo.
According to the World Bank, the fertility rate of Indian women has steadily declined from 3.31 children per woman in 2000 to 2.3 in 2017, just above the replacement level of 2.2.
She said the 1994 meeting in Cairo marked a shift in the approach to controlling population growth, shifting from goal setting to “improving the lives of individuals, especially women, to inducing demographic changes “.
“The agreement that population policies should address social development, especially the advancement of women, and that family planning should be provided as part of a larger package of health care, has broadened the scope of political discussions, ”she said.
Behind the new approach was “the belief that improving individual health and realizing other rights would ultimately lower the birth rate and slow down population growth,” she said.
India has followed this strategy, she said.
To further improve the availability of health services, India took a giant step towards universal health coverage by launching the National Health Protection Scheme last September, to provide health coverage to 500 million people, he said. she declared.
It is the largest public health insurance program in the world, officially known as Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana and nicknamed Modicare.
“The holistic and service-oriented approach reflected in the ICPD agenda remains relevant to address emerging challenges and opportunities in the context of rapid urbanization and aging populations,” Tripathi said.
As a step towards universal health coverage, India last September launched the world’s largest health care program, the “National Health Protection Plan” to provide medical treatment coverage to 500 million people. of people.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said population growth was also a result of people living longer and healthier lives and therefore “a sign of human success”.
At the same time, he noted its impact on the environment.
“It has also contributed to an increase in world production and consumption,” he said. “This is all the more reason to adjust our production and consumption habits in order to avoid even more serious consequences for life and livelihoods, especially for the most vulnerable. We must remember that we are always losing the race against climate change. “
Guterres said the Cairo conference recognized the importance of promoting the rights of women and girls to ensure the well-being of individuals, families and nations and that there has been significant progress over the 25 last years.
“Advances in gender equality and the promotion of women’s rights have helped reduce poverty and hunger, and improve education and health,” he said. “Infant and maternal mortality has been reduced by almost half. “
However, he warned, “We are seeing a global decline in women’s rights, including reproductive rights and vital health services.”
The well-being and human rights of women and girls face many challenges, he said, noting that one in three people are victims of violence globally and globally, around 650 million people. women were married in childhood while more than 500 women and girls die during pregnancy and childbirth.
Newsweek Reports: New United Nations Report Says India Has Made Great Strides In Helping Its Citizens Lift Out Of Poverty
Between 2006 and 2016, the percentage of India’s population in so-called “multidimensional poverty” fell from 55.1 percent to 27.9 percent, Newsweek said.
A multimetric measure, multidimensional poverty includes indicators such as poor health, lack of education, and the continuing threat of violence. One in three children in the world suffers from multidimensional poverty, compared to one in six adults, according to the statement.
The 2019 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index, produced by the United Nations Development Program and the Oxford Initiative on Poverty and Human Development, examined 101 countries in total, tracking levels of extreme poverty over the years. of the ten-year period between 2006 and 2016.
During this period, an estimated 271 million Indians were lifted out of poverty, the largest number in the index, which recorded particularly strong improvements in “assets, cooking fuel, sanitation and nutrition. “, according to the report, Newsweek said.
About 1.3 billion people are considered multidimensionally poor, mainly in 10 countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru and Vietnam, according to the report.
In addition to the gains made in access to cooking fuel, sanitation and nutrition, the percentage of Indians without access to electricity increased from 9.1% to 8.6%. The percentage of people without access to housing also fell from 44.9 to 23.6, the report adds.
India received special mention for improvements in the poorest regions of the country. In Jharkhand, for example, multidimensional poverty was reduced from 74.9 percent in 2005-06 to 46.5 percent in 2015-16, the publication notes.