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Times of India
22 September 2010
By Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi, India

Delhi, Bihar And Kerala Among Lowest Users: Survey
When it comes to popping oral birth control pills, women from Rajasthan seem to be showing the way. In a statewise analysis of oral pill users, conducted by the Union health ministry, the desert state has topped the list at 8.82 lakh in 2008.

Rajasthan Women Lead In Popping Birth-Control Pills
Uttar Pradesh (8.21 lakhs) occupied the second spot, followed by West Bengal (6.63 lakhs), Madhya Pradesh (6.09 lakhs) and Andhra Pradesh (5.98 lakhs). The next five slots were taken by Maharashtra (3.25 lakhs), Gujarat (2.96 lakhs), Chhattisgarh (2.28 lakhs), Orissa (1.89 lakhs) and Karnataka (1.67 lakhs). Andhra Pradesh saw the highest jump in oral pill users – from 3.4 lakhs in 2007 to 5.9 lakhs in 2008. Altogether, 1.08 crore women used the pill in 2008, breaching the one crore mark for the first time. In Tamil Nadu. there were 1.3 lakh users. While Punjab and Haryana had 1.4 lakhs and 84,000, respectively, during the same period.

Surprisingly, Delhi, Bihar and Kerala recorded very low figures – 1,257, 6,882 and 29,722, respectively. Lakshwadeep at 120 brought out the rear, followed by Manipur (584), Chandigarh (685) and Nagaland (912). According to Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, the nation’s growing population has become a major problem. In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Azad urged a vigorousimplementation of family planning policies in an humane and ethical manner.

Demographic projections show that India will cross China as the most populous nation by 2030. As per the data available with National Population Stabilisation Fund, India’s population has grown five times in the last 100 years. At present, the country’s population count (1198 million) is only second to China (1345.8 million). The average population growth in India has been 1.4% between 2005 and 2010 as compared to 0.6% in India during the same period.

By 2050, India is estimated to be home to 1613.8 million people, while China’s population is likely to be 1417 million. In 2009, if India’s average fertility rate was 2.68, China’s was 1.77. Azad maintained that population stabilisation is vital for the nation’s future as India’s accounts for 17% of the global population and only 2.5% of the world’s total land.

"In this light, small families are important," the minister reasoned. "Popping the pill will help in controlling unwanted pregnancies. It’s good that the number of women using the oral pill is increasing steadily," a ministry official said. The population boom is also fuelled by early marriages of a high number of women.

For instance, in Bihar, 70% girls get married before they turn 18 years.

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