Why was the sterilization campaign launched?

India's population in 1951 was approximately 36.1 crores. In the decade 1941-1951, the country's population was increasing at the rate of 1.26 percent per year. Then India's leading urban demographer RA Gopalaswamy estimated in his report that the country's population would increase by 50 lakh people every year. Accepting Gopalaswamy's report, the government of india started the National Family Planning Programme. india became the first country in the world to do so. Under this campaign, people were made aware of family planning by going door-to-door in the village, families were encouraged to have only two children and to keep a gap of at least two years between the birth of these children. But this campaign of the government was unsuccessful.

Gopalaswamy's report also suggested large-scale sterilization for population control. It required only a minor surgery, with no hospitalization or long-term care. However, garnering support for sterilization was not easy. At that time people had many misconceptions related to sterilization. For example, people believe that vasectomy can lead to death on the operating table, it causes men to lose weight, they get tired quickly, and their sexual desire is lost. In such a situation, it was a very difficult task for the government to accept sterilization.

At that time, most indian politicians believed that population control was very important for economic development. Keeping this in mind, campaigns were run in different phases. Initially, the budget for the campaign was kept very low. Major changes in the country occurred only after 1965, when a separate department was created specifically for family planning and the budget was also increased.

According to the report, the World bank gave a loan of US $ 66 million to the indian government between 1972 and 1980 for sterilization. To control India's population, pressure was put on indira gandhi by Western countries to carry out rapid sterilization.


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