With Sex Education Banned, MP Sees Surge in Population Growth

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 22 2007 11:51 AM

Madhya Pradesh is floundering badly in its family planning efforts. Not that it is surprising, considering the state saw widespread protests against sex education and condom campaigns this year.

With around 60 million people, the state is nowhere near its target of attaining a 1.62 percent population growth rate by 2011. The figure is expected to be around 20 percent right now.

"If the trend continues, then the population of the state would be 96.6 million by 2011," a health department official admitted.

Even though the male sterilisation programme has picked up remarkably, the state's health department is said to have attained only 50 percent of its target in the last five years as far as population control is concerned.

The authorities put the blame on lack of awareness about family planning techniques like contraceptive pills and condoms.

"Temporary family planning measures like contraceptive pills and condoms have hardly helped the government initiative to control the state's population. Also, the dearth of competent laparoscopic surgeons and other subsidiary staff has further aggravated the problem," a health department source said.

Ironically, sex education has been banned in the state after protests. Barely a month ago, Madhya Pradesh also saw strong opposition to a ringing condom, which was branded a sex toy by the moral brigade.

At present, it has the seventh largest population among Indian states. As of March 2001, the figure stood at 60,385,118, registering a decadal growth of 24.34 percent over the previous census.

While the population growth rate in 2001 was 20.9 percent, in 2005 it stood at 20.4 percent. The department is yet to calculate the final figures for 2006 but the trend in the previous years indicates that it must be around 20 percent.

Male family planning methods, including no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV), have however gained popularity. The number of males undergoing NSV has increased from nine per 100,000 in 2000-01 to 16 per 100,000 last year.

According to statistics received from the health and family welfare department, the administration performed 2,112,744 sterilisations, including 58,420 male NSV operations, in the past six years.

Around 29,662 males underwent NSVs in 2005-06 while 366,930 sterilisations were performed. Significantly, more male sterilisations took place in rural areas than in urban areas.

"Positive results have mainly been observed in five districts of the state - Satna, Rewa, Sidhi, Panna and Chhattarpur - where United Nations Population Fund has started the NSV project," claims its state convenor Dayakrishna Mangal.

In 13 districts of the state, the percentage of male sterilisations is more than the state's average of 2.77 percent. The male family planning campaign has fared quite poorly - at less than one percent - in prominent cities like Indore, Jabalpur and Gwalior. In capital Bhopal, it is a low 2.26 percent.