The estimated birth rate for India indicates that, in the first decade of the twentieth century, it was quite high and that, up to 1951-1960, it had declined very slightly.
From 1901-1911 to 1951- 1960, the birth rate declined by only about 4 points, that is from 49.2 to 45.0 per thousand population. Various estimates for the period 1951-1960 indicate that the average birth rate in India during the decade was in the neighbourhood of 45 per thousand populations.
The only exception of these estimates is the one made by the Registrar-General of India (41.7 per thousand population), which is generally considered to be an under-estimate.
From 1961-1970, however, a dent was made in the national birth rate. According to the estimates of Rele and Sinha, it was 41.0 per thousand population 92 and according to those of Adlakha and Kirk; it was between 40.5 and 42.0 per thousand populations.
Thus a clear-cut reduction of between seven and ten per cent is observed in Indian fertility. Once this dent was made, the birth rate began to decline progressively up to 1977 (33.0) (See Table 9.11).
Both the above mentioned studies (Rele and Sinha, and Adlakha and Kirk) bring out one striking point regarding the decline in the birth rate during 1961-1970.
Their analyses indicate the fertility declines were relatively greater during the later half to the decade, that is, during 1966-1970, when the family planning programme was revitalised. Many other researchers also attribute the fall mainly to the greater use of family planning methods.
Evidence of more striking declines in birth rates as well as in other fertility indices such as the total fertility rate and the gross reproduction rate is available in the findings of a few localised studies in areas with intensive family planning programmes.