Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Family Planning in Pakistan’s Third Five Year Plan

It is commonplace that population growth looms large in the complex of problems associated with economic and social development. This is true in Pakis¬tan as elsewhere and the Third Five Year Plan has faced_up squarely to (his issue. This article will review the population policy contained in the Plan and its support¬ing documents. Our analysis is sometimes critical but never unsympathetic. The planners in Pakistan have recognized the importance of population control and the present Plan devotes considerable resources to this goal. For this they deserve only praise. However, critical analysis of the Family Planning Scheme by interest¬ed but objective observers may still serve a useful purpose. The Plan’s basic statement on population deserves to be quoted to start our analysis: The size of population, estimated at 112 million for 1965, is expected to grow at an annual compound rate of about 2.6 per cent during the Perspective Plan (1965-1985). With the planned improvement in health facilities and nutri¬tional standards, the mortality rate is likely to decline fairly rapidly. Unless it is checked by a fall in the fertility rate, the population growth rate could easily be pushed beyond 3 per cent per annum. If this happens, population will double itself by 1985. Such an increase would defeat any attempts to raise per capita incomes by a significant amount. One of the basic assump¬tions of the present projections is that the rate of growth of population will decline after 1975 owing to a decrease in the fertility rate. In other words, it is assumed that declining fertility will more than offset declining mortal¬ity. The population in 1985 is thus projected at 187 million. A vigorous and broadly based programme of family planning is, therefore, an intergral part of the strategy for the Perspective Plan [44, p. 24].

Warren C. Robinson

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