Mukerji Committee Report
On December 31, 1965, the government of India’s Central Council of Health established a committee with B. Mukerji – secretary at the Ministry of Health at the time – as its chairperson. The committee was to discuss the use of intra-uterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs) in the National Family Planning Programme, which was launched in 1958.
The 53-page report contains six sections – including an introduction (Section I) – and discusses the infrastructure for conducting IUCD programmes under the National Family Planning Programme (Section II), personnel requirements for the programme (Section III), financing the increased use of IUCDs under the programme (Section VI), the role of voluntary agencies (Section V) and the training of personnel to conduct the programme (Section VI).
In 1963, the Ministry of Health, government of India, reorganised the National Family Planning Programme, emphasising community participation and education. The reorganised programme was mainly based on male sterilisation and the use of condoms.
Implementing the IUCD method at a mass scale, the Committee states, could help reduce the birth rate in India from 41 to 25 per cent by 1977. It says that the IUCD method is more feasible for reducing the birth rate than sterilisation due to its ‘clinical and administrative advantages’.
The Committee recommends that women undergoing IUCD insertions should be paid a certain amount to cover wages lost due to the procedure, as well as the cost of food, transport and other incidental expenses. They should also be granted leave from work for a day.
Those undergoing salpingectomies (the removal of one or both fallopian tubes) under the National Family Planning Programme do not get compensation for wages lost due to the procedure. The Committee suggests an amount of Rs. 25 to cover wages lost and other incidental expenses. Such persons should also be granted leave for 14 days when the operation is not performed during the period of maternity leave.
Since the National Family Planning Programme is the central government’s scheme, the Committee recommends that they sponsor and sanction additional staff for health departments in each state to conduct the programme.
Each district should have a Family Planning Bureau, along with mobile units for IUCD insertions as per the district’s population density. There should be one unit for 5 to 7.5 lakh people.
According to the Committee, doctors at mobile units that conduct activities under the National Family Planning Programme should be given a ‘special allowance’ of Rs. 150 per month if they perform 150 vasectomies or insert 3,000 IUCDs, “or [conduct any] equivalent combination of these” in a month. “This would be a test of performance to justify that with the allowance the work is attended to with necessary enthusiasm and earnestness,” says the report.
The Committee recommends that district authorities appoint part-time workers for motivating people and bringing cases for vasectomy and IUCD insertions wherever they find it ‘useful’. These workers should be selected carefully; they should be persons with “influence in the locality and enjoying a good reputation.” The workers could be paid an honorarium of Rs. 50 for bringing people for vasectomies and IUCD insertions every month, or Rs. 30 a month with Rs. 1 payable for every additional case over the number 50. District authorities should re-appoint such workers based on their previous performance.
Focus and Factoids by Arpita Giri.
Mukerji Committee (Chairperson: B. Mukerji)
Ministry of Health, Government of India, New Delhi