Parents wanting their children to settle down quickly may disapprove but Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad asked people to opt for late marriages to curb the exponential growth in population.
At a function to commemorate the ‘World Population Day’,where rural couples opting to marry after 18 and planning their families were awarded,Azad said there was no need to felicitate them as they were only abiding by the law.
“Only people who opt to marry at 30-31 should be awarded,” he said.
However,when questioned by reporters as to whether he wanted the marriageable age to be raised to 30,he replied in the negative saying he had only talked about giving awards.
Observing that the fast growing population of India was putting tremendous pressure on the depleting natural resources,he said,”even countries like Australia,United States and the Middle East where people went in search of employment are turning Indians back to secure jobs for their own people”.
“This has been the trend over the last one year,” he said.
The rate of development of resources in India was far less than the spurt in population,he said asking the media,bureaucracy and the civil society to create more awareness among the rural masses.
“The fight in the future and at present is between the haves and the have nots. The Naxalite movement is a result of this,” he said.
Azad said information about family planning as well as its importance should be imparted at the grass roots level. Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said apart from the growth in population,female foeticide was the biggest problem facing the country.
“Why are laws which are meant to curb these evil practises never implemented,” she asked.
Observing that awareness generation was the biggest issue involved,former Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said giving incentives to people opting for good family planning measures was the only option available.
Apart from this,strict vigilance and monitoring was also needed,he said. Azad also gave away awards to some couples who had adopted good family planning measures in rural districts and a 12-year-old girl Rekha Kalindi,who had refused to be married off at such a young age.