India’s foremost demographer, Ashish Bose, explains how India ended up with the world’s largest population despite 60 years of family planning. Excerpts of an interview with Sheela Reddy:
You have been involved with population issues from the start—why do you think we have failed so abysmally?
Family planning as a state-sponsored programme began in India as early as 1951 in the very first five-year plan. But in those days, nobody took the subject seriously, they didn’t even know what demographer meant—until Sanjay Gandhi came and did the wrong things.