PIP: The Secretary of India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare serves as Chair of the Executive Council of the International Institute for Population Sciences in Bombay. She addressed its 35th convocation in 1993. Global population stands at 5.43 billion and increases by about 90 million people each year. 84 million of these new people are born in developing countries. India contributes 17 million new people annually. The annual population growth rate in India is about 2%. Its population size will probably surpass 1 billion by the 2000. High population growth rates are a leading obstacle to socioeconomic development in developing countries. Governments of many developing countries recognize this problem and have expanded their family planning programs to stabilize population growth. Asian countries that have done so and have completed the fertility transition include China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. Burma, Malaysia, North Korea, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam have not yet completed the transition. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Nepal, and Pakistan are half-way through the transition. High population growth rates put pressure on land by fragmenting finite land resources, increasing the number of landless laborers and unemployment, and by causing considerable rural-urban migration. All these factors bring about social stress and burden civic services. India has reduced its total fertility rate from 5.2 to 3.9 between 1971 and 1991. Some Indian states have already achieved replacement fertility. Considerable disparity in socioeconomic development exists among states and districts. For example, the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh have female literacy rates lower than 27%, while that for Kerala is 87%. Overall, infant mortality has fallen from 110 to 80 between 1981 and 1990. In Uttar Pradesh, it has fallen from 150 to 98, while it is at 17 in Kerala. India needs innovative approaches to increase contraceptive prevalence rates and to reach replacement level fertility.