Population increase not linked to religion, sharper drop in fertility rate among Muslims: NGOs | News from India

NEW DELHI: Population growth the rates are not linked to religion and the Total Fertility rate (TFR) among all religious groups is in decline, with the highest decline seen among Muslims, the NGO Population Foundation of India said, amid a debate over India's rising minority population. According to a recent working paper prepared by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM), the share of Hindu population declined by 7.82 percent between 1950 and 2015 in India, while that of Muslims increased of 43.15 percent. suggest that there is an environment in the country conducive to promoting diversity.
The study has given rise to a fight between political parties, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claiming that the Congress's “appeasement policy” has led to the increase in the Muslim population in the country.
In a statement, the Population Foundation of India said it was deeply concerned by recent media reports “misreporting” the study's findings in order to sow alarm over population growth. Muslim population in the country.
“The study's focus on changes in the proportion of majority and minority religious groups globally over a 65-year period should not be used to incite fear or discrimination against any community “, did he declare.
According to census figures, the decadal growth rate of Muslims has declined over the past three decades.
Specifically, the decadal growth rate of Muslims fell from 32.9 percent in 1981-1991 to 24.6 percent in 2001-2011.
“This decline is more pronounced than that of Hindus, whose growth rate fell from 22.7 to 16.8 percent over the same period,” specifies the NGO.
Census data is available from 1951 to 2011 and is quite similar to the data in this study, indicating that these numbers are not new, the organization said.
Noting that TFR among all religious groups is declining, he said the highest decline in TFR between 2005-06 and 2019-21 was seen among Muslims, who fell by 1 percentage point , followed by Hindus at 0.7 percentage points.
“This trend highlights that fertility rates are converging across different religious communities,” he said.
The NGO, which promotes and advocates for the effective formulation and implementation of gender-responsive population, health and development strategies and policies, said such interpretations are not only inaccurate, but also misleading and without foundation.
“The selective presentation of data by the media to highlight the increase in the Muslim population is an example of misrepresentation that ignores the broader importance of the Muslim population. demographic trends” said Poonam Muttreja, executive director, Population Foundation of India.
Fertility rates are closely linked to education and income levels, not religion, she added.
“States with better access to education, healthcare and socio-economic development, such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu, have lower TFRs across all religious groups. For example, the TFR among Muslim women in Kerala is lower than that of Hindu women in Bihar. “, declared the NGO.
Successful family planning programs in Muslim-majority countries like Bangladesh and Indonesia have resulted in lower birth rates than in India. These countries have achieved this through higher levels of female education, better employment opportunities, and better access to contraceptive choices. This clearly shows that the decline in fertility is influenced by developmental factors rather than religious affiliation, the Population Foundation of India added.
“The most effective way to manage population growth is to invest in education, economic development and gender equality. Our analysis indicates that women's education is the most critical factor in reducing fertility rates. Therefore, interventions should focus on providing education and family planning services, irrespective of religion,” Muttreja said.
The world is grappling with several demographic problems.
“Population Foundation of India urges the media to refrain from using population studies to create fear and division. It is essential to present data accurately and in context, highlighting the role of education, income and of socio-economic development in changing demographic trends We advocate for policies that promote inclusive development and gender equity to ensure a balanced and harmonious society,” the NGO said.

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