India is the second most populous nation in the world with 859 million inhabitants in 1991 (10). It is expected to reach the one billion mark before the end of this decade and to overtake top‐ ranking China by the next century(8). It is a fact that overpopulation remains a major roadblock to its development. India was the first nation to adopt family planning programmes targeting population control as a national priority in its development plans(12). Policy‐makers had hoped to cut their high birth rate (31 per 1000 population) in half by year 2000(8). But, its high fertility rate (4.00) will continue to persist as long as the inferior status of women in society prevails.
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