Govt to bring new population policy soon: adviser

KARACHI: Adviser to Chief Minister Sindh on Culture Sharmila Farooqui has said that the Sindh government would bring a new population policy in the next four months, which is in process by the Sindh Population Welfare department in collaboration with United Nation Population Fund.
While speaking on a seminar, organised by the Sindh Population Welfare Department to mark the World Population Day at a local hotel, she said that there was no effective development plan in the country due to the absence of actual figures of the population. “We are allocating funds in each sector without determining the need,” she said. She said that National Assembly’s Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah had asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to carry out a consensus in the country in order to build up a development plan. Sharmila said that the youth needs better opportunities of employment, health, and education, and access of youth to these things would lead the country to become a prosperous nation. She said that likewise other development polices, a national youth development policy should also be formed to provide opportunities to the young generation. She said that the population control debate had faced a severe backlash in country. Sindh took the lead in promulgating the Sindh Child Restraint Marriage Act but it faced severe criticism from the Council of Islamic Ideology, she said. 
Speaking on the occasion, United Nation Population Funds Coordinator Shrutidhar Tiripathi said that Pakistan had a youth bulge as its 60 percent of the population comprises of people less than 29 years. This youth bulge has enormous advantages for the growth of the country, however, it also has some disadvantages, he said. He said that 70 percent of the Pakistani youth is literate which includes 85 percent literacy in urban areas and 55 percent in rural areas. He also called to end disparity among gender and said that women should be provided opportunities to come forward and play their role in the progress of the country. Tiripathi said that the majority of the girls do not utilise their education in practical fields due to early marriages. He said that 50 percent of the women are married before the age of 20, which not only creates problems for the mothers but also affect the infant mortality rate.
Karachi University Sociology Department head Fateh Mohammad said, “Countries like Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh have the population with 60 percent youth.
He cited lack of education and playgrounds as the major reason of intolerance among the youth and unrest in the country. Fifty percent of the Pakistani youth do not go to schools and those who go and acquire higher education do not have better opportunities of employment, he said, adding that this creates resentment among the youth. He said that the number of women is also increasing in prisons, which also shows trends of intolerance among women.  Civil Hospital Medical Officer Rukhsana said that adolescent children hesitate to discuss issues regarding their health and changes in their body when they reach the age of puberty. She said that the subjects of child nutrition and health should be included in the school curriculum to create awareness among the children. She also called for providing knowledge to the couples regarding family planning before their marriage.

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