Vimal Balasubrahmanyan
Population Policy and Compulsions in Family Planning by Vasant P. Pethe Continental Prakashan, Poona, , 188 pp., 45.00
Sept-Oct 1982, volume 7, No 2

Seeing the population ‘ex¬plosion’ in the country as the root of all evil is fairly in¬grained today among politi¬cians, policy makers and the vocal elite. Every half-baked industrialist can be heard making speeches drawing a link between the country’s population growth and its economic backwardness. And the media are full of articles in which the population bogey is a convenient central point around which are built pom¬pous theories and analyses. It is this section (with its hang¬up about population ‘control’) that needs to read and be enlightened by Professor Pethe’s excellent book. In a long preface the author dissects the basic misconcep¬tions that plague the approach to population programmes. His central theme is that unless the neo-Malthusian out¬look, borrowed from Western pundits, is totally discarded and the whole issue looked at afresh, the problem, which is less a problem of numbers and more a question of funda¬mental change, will not be solved.

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