Fertility Rate projected to decline from 2.37 to 1.73 by 2035: Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that the fertility rate of Indians may decline to 1.73 from the current 2.37 by the year 2035. “Population projection for India and States 2011-2036, released in July 2020, indicates that the Total Fertility Rate is expected to decline from 2.37 during 2011-2015 to 1.73 during 2031-35,” he said.

Vardhan said that India is now in a phase of demographic transition with a substantial percentage of youth population. “The youth population in the age group of 15-24 years is projected to decline from 233 million in 2011 to 227 million in 2036. However, the proportion of the working age population is expected to increase from 61% in 2011 to 65% in 2036. India is adding 12 million people to the working age population each year,” he presumed

The minister, who was speaking in an event, also noted that the population boom has been affecting the planet and the human race in many adverse ways. “More people require more resources, and as the population increases, the earth’s resources deplete. People in developing countries like India, feel the impact of environmental problems more acutely,” he stated.

Vardhan spoke about exhaustive efforts the country undertook to encourage the adoption of family planning: “India was one of the first countries in the world to formulate a National Family Planning Program way back in 1952 which was later expanded to cover maternal and child health as well as adolescent health and nutrition and has taken giant strides in spreading awareness & enhancing adoption of family planning techniques while also ensuring healthier lives for its citizens,” he said.

“Even though India’s population has increased from 36 crore in 1951 to 121.02 crore in 2011, the country has witnessed significant decline in both fertility and mortality. The crude birth rate which was recorded at 40.8 per 1000 in 1951, has declined to 20.0 in 2018 and the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has declined from 6.0 in 1951 to 2.2 in 2015-16. Meanwhile, the death rate in India has declined from 7 in 2012 to 6.2 in 2018,” the minister added.

Vardhan also shared insights from the recent National Family Health Survey 5 suggesting significant increase in family planning strategies. “20 out of 22 States surveyed so far have shown an increase in modern contraceptive use and 21 showing a decline in unmet needs for contraception while 19 of them have shown a decline in fertility,” he shared.