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Times of India
08 September 2010
New Delhi, India

The Initiative Is Meant To Curb Population Explosion
India’s health ministry is preparing a plan to ensure the availability of condoms at each home of the country’s six lakh villages in a bid to curb the population explosion, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Govt Plans Condom Surge To Cover All Village Homes
The plan is being prepared on the direction of health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has ruled out legislation to control population, said the health ministry official, who did not wish to be identified.

"Azad wants to take condoms to every home in the six lakh villages of India," the official said. "He thinks that accessibility of condoms on the doorsteps of the villagers would help control the population, which is projected to be 1.19 billion in 2011." According to the 2001 census, India’s population is 1.02 billion and it is estimated to exceed China’s by 2030. "The ministry has a plan and it will be announced soon," the official said.

Asked how practical the plan was, he said it was being prepared considering all the aspects. "A condom is needed when it is really required. The plan is being prepared keeping this thing in mind," he said. According to sources, the ministry intends to take the help of the Accredited Social Health Activists (Asha), affiliated to the National Rural Health Mission, to run the scheme.

An Asha worker – usually a woman resident of a village, and in the age group of 25 to 45 years – is trained to work as an interface between the community and the public health system. "An Asha worker, who is a literate woman with formal education up to class VIII, will be trained to spread the message of condoms to the rural households," the official said.

Addressing a national workshop on Repositioning Family Planning for Maternal and Child Health earlier this year, Azad had said that India, the world’s second most populous country, was against controlling population growth through legislation.

"I firmly believe that equitable, inclusive and sustainable growth of India depends on healthy and stable population. It is a matter of great concern and urgent steps need to be taken to stabilise the population for sustainable development," he said.

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