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UNFPA in India

UNFPA in India

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.
Aligned with the post-2015 development agenda and the global framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, UNFPA expands the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy and productive lives.

UNFPA has been assisting the Government of India since 1974 to provide family planning and health services, advance reproductive health and rights and improve maternal health. Its Eighth Country Programme of assistance (2013-17) to the Government of India focusses on young people’s sexual and reproductive health and improving opportunities for vulnerable women and girls. UNFPA also supports research, advocacy and government policies and programmes to advance gender equality and reproductive rights, family planning and population dynamics. UNFPA partners with the government at the centre, other development partners at the national level, and carries out its programmes through offices in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan.     

Adolescents and youth

Investing in young people, especially the vulnerable and the marginalized. India has its largest ever adolescent and youth population. According to UNFPA projections, India will continue to have one of the youngest populations in the world till 2030. India is experiencing a demographic window of opportunity, a ‘youth bulge’ that will last till 2025. India’s youth face several development challenges, including access to education, gainful employment, gender inequality, child marriage, youth-friendly health services and adolescent pregnancy. Yet, with investments in their participation and leadership, young people can transform the social and economic fortunes of the country.

UNFPA India works with the government and partners to advocate for adolescents and youth’s rights and investments, including education, livelihood skills and health, including sexual and reproductive health.

Sexual and Reproductive Health

Expanding the availability and use of information and services, with a focus on family planning.

Reproductive health problems remain the leading cause of ill health and death for women of childbearing age worldwide. Impoverished women suffer disproportionately from unintended pregnancies, maternal death and disability, sexually transmitted infections including HIV and -based violence. Because young people often face barriers in trying to get the information or care they need, adolescent reproductive health is a key focus for UNFPA.

Along with contributing to the national dialogue and Government of India’s strategy on family planning, UNFPA is supporting the implementation of the Government of India’s RMNCH+A strategy, that integrates adolescents’ reproductive health needs in the national strategy to improve maternal, child and reproductive health outcomes. UNFPA is also coordinating a national comprehensive response to achieve the goals of Family Planning 2020.

Gender empowerment

Ending the practice of gender-biased sex selection and promoting gender equity and equality.

The practice of gender-biased sex-selection in India has manifested in highly skewed sex ratios over past few decades. The preference for a son over a daughter is rooted in socio-economic and cultural factors: sons are seen to provide economic security in old age, perform the religious last rites and carry on a family name, whereas a daughter is considered a burden due to the practice of dowry. Further, the practice of gender-biased sex selection has increased with a decline in fertility and preference for at least one son, and the misuse of modern technology.

UNFPA India has been working on sex selection for over a decade, raising awareness, facilitating research, and initiating partnerships with multiple stakeholders. UNFPA works with the government, medical community, judiciary, the media, young people and civil society to address the issue.

Population Dynamics

Using data to decode population trends: from sex ratio at birth, to population ageing.

While India has the world’s largest population of adolescents and youth, every minute 16 people celebrate their 60th birthday in the country. India’s population of 104 million elderly people in 2011 would grow to over 320 million by 2050. The population of people over 60 would grow 360% between 2000 and 2050 compared to population growth of 60% in the same period.

UNFPA India works in collaboration with some of the best research institutes in the country, to analyse demographic dynamics, and share the findings in a manner that can help influence policies and programmes.