In 1976 the Government of India launched a new National Population Policy designed to achieve a rapid reduction in the birth rate. Much of it involved direct intervention attempting to cut across traditional fertility behaviour. To provide an understanding of those traditions is the aim of this section and the whole subject of family planning is left until Chapter 3. Indian society is so complex that no one would expect any straightforward account of fertility there — difficult as it is to account for the level of fertility anywhere. Most of our explanations derive from studies of differential fertility. As we have seen Indian fertility is not above average, internationally speaking, among developing countries. But it has been high relative to India’s needs in recent decades as well as to levels prevailing in rich countries. A standard account would run as follows: ‘Fertility has its basis in history — a response to past high levels of mortality. If it has not declined much in the recent past, that is because a number of other contributory factors continue to favour high fertility: the age at marriage is low; Hindus need sons to light their funeral pyres; various religions in India, while not prohibiting contraception, may give a disposition to high fertility; parents need children to look after them in old age; they often see immediate economic or social advantage in large families.
Weitere Kapitel dieses Buchs durch Wischen aufrufen
- Fertility, Mortality, Migration and Projections
R. H. Cassen
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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