HC Deb 23 February 1965 vol 707 cc212-3
10. Mr. Kershaw

asked the Minister of Overseas Development why she discussed family planning with the Governments of India and Pakistan.

33. Mrs. Renée Short

asked Minister of Overseas Development if she will make a statement on her discussions on family planning during her recent visit to India and Pakistan.

Mrs. Castle

Both Governments have adopted family planning as an essential part of their development planning and attach great importance to it. I obtained useful information from them on their plans and informed them of our willingness to help and to examine sympathetically any requests they might put to us for technical assistance in this field.

Mr. Kershaw

How much will it cost? Will some aid be conditional upon this system being adopted by these countries?

Mrs. Castle

No, I would certainly not make it a condition of aid. We have made our position quite clear. It is that we stand ready to give technical assistance in this field at the request of Governments but that we feel that this is something in which they should have freedom of choice. It is impossible to say what the cost will be.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Does my right hon. Friend realise that many of us welcome very much the interest that the Government of India are showing in this matter? Will she use her good offices to try to persuade the World Health Organisation also to take a more active interest?

Mrs. Castle

I was very much struck by the concern of the Indian Government with this problem and with the steps they are taking to deal with it. I will certainly give consideration to what my hon. Friend said about the W.H.O.

Mr. Tilney

Is the right hon. Lady aware that the Indian population is increasing at the rate of over 1 million a month and that anything she can do to help solve this problem, particularly by the provision of mobile clinics in States like Mahratta, will be very much appreciated?

Mrs. Castle

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for the support he is giving us in this matter. The provision of mobile clinics is one of the forms of technical assistance that we will bear in mind.