The overriding objective of economic and social development is to improve the quality of lives that people lead, to enhance their well-being, and to provide them with opportunities and choices to become productive assets in society. In 1952, India was the first country in the world to launch a national programme, emphasizing family planning to the extent necessary for reducing birth rates "to stabilize the population at a level consistent with the requirement of national economy" After 1952, sharp declines in death rates were, however, not accompanied by a similar drop in birth rates. The National Health Policy, 1983 stated that replacement levels of total fertility rate(TFR) should be achieved by the year 2000. On 11 May, 2000 India was projected to have 1 billion (100 crore) people, i.e. 16 percent of the world's population on 2.4 percent of the globe's land area. If current trends continue, India may overtake China in 2045, to become the most populous country in the world. While global population has increased threefold during this century, from 2 billion to 6 billion, the population of India has increased nearly five times from 238 million (23 crores) to 1 billion in the same period. India's current annual increase in population of 15.5 million is large enough to neutralize efforts to conserve the resource endowment and environment. Stabilising population is an essential requirement for promoting sustainable development with more equitable distribution. However, it is as much a function of making reproductive health care accessible and affordable for all, as of increasing the provision and outreach of primary and secondary education, extending basic amenities including sanitation, safe drinking water and housing, besides empowering women and enhancing their employment opportunities, and providing transport and communications. The National Population Policy, 2000 (NPP 2000) affirms the commitment of government towards voluntary and informed choice and consent of citizens while availing of reproductive health care services, and continuation of the target free approach in administering family planning services. The NPP 2000 provides a policy framework for advancing goals and prioritizing strategies during the next decade, to meet the reproductive and child health needs of the people of India, and to achieve net replacement levels (TFR) by 2010. It is based upon the need to simultaneously address issues of child survival, maternal health, and contraception, while increasing outreach and coverage of a comprehensive package of reproductive and child heath services by government, industry and the voluntary non-government sector, working in partnership.
•The immediate objective of the NPP 2000 is to address the unmet needs for contraception, health care infrastructure, and health personnel, and to provide integrated service delivery for basic reproductive and child health care.
•The medium-term objective is to bring the TFR to replacement levels by 2010, through vigorous implementation of inter-sectoral operational strategies. The long-term objective is to achieve a stable population by 2045, at a level consistent with the requirements of sustainable economic growth, social development, and environmental protection.