- High teenage fertility in some areas remains a cause of concern in India even as the fertility rate has stabilised across the country, the Health Ministry said in its Family Planning Vision-2030 document released earlier this week.
- Teenage pregnancies and early marriages are hindering population control in the country, with over 118 districts in reporting 10 per cent of adolescent pregnancy and over 44 per cent of districts recording over 20 per cent women marrying before they reach the age of 18 years.
- Similarly, over 44 per cent of the districts in India reported over 20 per cent of women marrying before they reach the age of 18 years, according to India’s Vision Family Planning 2030 report.
- These districts are Bihar (17), West Bengal (8), Jharkhand (7), Assam (4), and two each in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
- The leading cause of concern is that these districts also experience low rates of modern contraceptive use, the report released by Minister of State of Health and Family Planning Bharati Pravin Pawar said.
- The modern contraceptive use among married adolescents and young women is increasing over time. But it still remains low.
- The two most important factors that explain low contraceptive use among married adolescents and young women are child marriage and teenage pregnancy.
- As per the document in the NFHS-4, only 7% married adolescents and 26% young women were using modern methods of contraception, which increased to 19% and 32% respectively in NFHS-5.
- Both married adolescent girls and young women reported high unmet need for contraception. In the NFHS-4, 27% adolescents and 21% young women reported unmet need for contraception, which declined to 18% and 17% respectively in the NFHS-5.
- India is the second largest country in the world. The country’s population is expected to continue to grow until mid-century (due to population momentum), however, the population growth will decline substantially, said the document.
- India’s population has reached 136.3 crore (1.36 billion) and is expected to reach 147.9 crore (1.47 billion) by 2031 and further 152.2 crore (1.52 billion) by 2036, it added.
- Also the adolescent population will reach 22.9 crore (229 million) by 2031 and further 22 crore (220 million) by 2036.
- Although there has been a steady decline in adolescent childbearing, from 7.9% (National Family Health Survey-4) to 6.8% (NFHS-5), it remains a priority area that requires addressal, especially since India will continue to have one of the youngest populations in the world until 2030, the report highlighted.
Kerala High Court’s stand
- Expressing its concern over the increasing number of child pregnancies, the Kerala High Court said that easy availability of pornographic content online can mislead youngsters.
- The court made this observation after Justice VG Arun allowed the medical termination of a 30-week pregnancy of a 13-year-old who was impregnated by her minor sibling.
Ethics behind the decision
- The court said that it took the decision to intervene in the case and authorise a medical termination of the pregnancy because the physical strain of carrying a pregnancy at such a young age can have detrimental effects on the child’s physical and mental health.
- “It is time for the authorities to take a re-look at the sexual education being imparted in our schools.
- The easy availability of porn on the internet can mislead the juvenile minds of youngsters and give them wrong ideas. Educating our children about the safe use of the internet and social media is absolutely essential.”
How is porn detrimental for young minds?
- According to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), exposure to porn at a young age may result in poor mental health, sexism and objectification and can even promote sexual violence.
- Apart from developing abusive and misogynistic behaviours, children may pass off such acts portrayed in porn as being normal and acceptable.
- According to a 2019 survey commissioned by the British Board of Film Classification, 51 per cent of children aged between 11 to 13 had seen pornographic content online.
- The pandemic made these figures rise exponentially as children spent more time online.
- Exposure to porn can also encourage children to engage in unsafe sexual practices.
Concern related to sex education in India
- The kind of sex education that exists in India mainly covers topics like HIV/AIDS infection and teenage pregnancies. However, there is a lack of awareness with regard to homosexuality, practising safe sex and menstruation among women, as per a Feminist of India report.
- The National Council for Education, Research and Training (NCERT) had introduced sex education back in 2007. However, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa widely opposed NCERT’s proposal and removed sex education from school curriculum.
- Teachers and parents alike protested against its introduction as they considered it as a way of promoting condoms by multinational companies.
- They also feared that it would ‘feed the curiosity’ of innocent students.
- In India, private schools are free to choose whether to include sexuality education in their curriculum. But most schools do not have any form of sexuality education in their curriculum.
There is an urgent need to take action against it. Such as:
- Promote girl’s education
- Banning early marriage
- Proper sex education
- Awareness Program for teens as well as parents
- Govt’s Participation
- Policies and program
- Strict law implementation
During embryonic development, the baby starts moving, and hair starts appearing on the head during embryonic development.
(A) Fourth month
(B) Fifth month
(C) Eight month
(D) Ninth month
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