Demand for contraceptives in India will continue to rise for the next five years, according to estimates by the Union ministry of health and family welfare.
The demand for condoms increases by about 5% every year, according to the estimates. The demand for oral contraceptive pills (OCPs), emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs), Chhaya (weekly oral contraceptive pills), intrauterine device (IUD), tubal ring, and pregnancy test kits (PTK), is estimated to increase by 10% in the year to 31 March 2021 and by about 5% in subsequent years (these years are yet to be completed).
Demand for Antara, an injectable contraceptive, is estimated to rise by around 10% annually till 2023-24.
“It is assumed that government will procure the commodities based on these estimates. It will be helpful to understand how increased contraceptive supply will contribute in meeting the existing unmet need of more than 29 million women who are not able to use contraceptives for various reasons," said Poonam Muttreja, executive director, Population Foundation of India (PFI). “We need to see that is it based on systematic need assessment of eligible couples in states. Also, have we taken into account the contraceptive needs of unmarried youth," she said.
The contraceptive usage rate, which was 56% in 2015-16, has remained little changed from the previous survey done in 2005-06, according to a study published in the August issue of International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health, which analysed data from the Demographic and Health Surveys Programme and the National Family Healthy Survey, NFHS-4 (2015-16) and NFHS-3 (2005-06).
There is a slight increase in awareness about modern methods of contraception from 98% of women in NFHS-3 to 99.2% in NFHS-4 whereas among men it remained unchanged at 98.6% in both the rounds.
India has also committed to adhere to the goals of Family Planning (FP) 2020, a global partnership to empower women and girls by investing in rights-based family planning. “It will be interesting to know if the contraceptive estimates drawn will help India increase modern contraceptive usage by 2020," Muttreja said.
Recently, the government subsumed Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) or the National Population Stabilisation Fund, earlier an autonomous body, into the Union health ministry. There were several schemes implemented in different districts which had high levels of fertility, maternal and infant mortality. Parents would get ₹7,000 on the birth of a girl and ₹5,000 for a boy after seven years of birth. The sustenance of schemes are uncertain, people associated with the fund claim.
“Population is a big issue and one needs to do several things which cannot wait and are essential. Improve access to all contraceptive methods particularly injectables and IUDs as other progressive South Asian countries did decades ago. Counsel and handhold adolescents before marriage about contraception and child care. Incentivise later marriages, child bearing and spacing between two kids. Publicly reward and recognize couples that are examples of responsible parenthood. You need collectors to get hold of sarpanches so couples are enumerated, tracked, counselled and helped to use the contraceptive of choice. It should be done imaginatively, not in a bureaucratic way," said Shailaja Chandra, first executive director of the National Population Stabilisation Fund.
India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country around 2027. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day said that population explosion in India can create new problems, especially for future generations.