Indonesia to boost family planning as babies born every year almost equals Singapore's population

An Indonesian mother prays while her son plays with a balloon during morning prayers at a mosque in Jakarta on July 17, 2015.
An Indonesian mother prays while her son plays with a balloon during morning prayers at a mosque in Jakarta on July 17, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Indonesia government is set to revitalise its family planning (KB) programme as roughly 4.5 million new babies, equal to 85 per cent of Singapore's population, are born in the country annually.

The government's target population growth rate is 1.1 per cent, whereas it currently sits at 1.49 per cent.

The head of Indonesia's national population and family planning board (BKKBN), Mr Surya Chandra Surapaty, said that Indonesia's growth rate of 1.49 per cent per year was worrying, especially if such massive growth was not accompanied by global manpower competitiveness.

"The population growth rate of 1.49 per cent means Indonesia has 4.5 million new babies (each year), equaling Singapore's population. If (we look at) a 10-year period, that's 10 Singapores," he said after a meeting with President Joko Widodo, as quoted by kompas.com.

The fastest growth rates, he further elaborated, were recorded in East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and in Riau Islands. It is feared that the babies were going to be a low-income, low-skilled generation since they were mostly born in underdeveloped or poor regions.

Lack of education is listed as one reason why the KB programme failed in those regions. To combat this, the President approved a KB pilot village in West Java set to be inaugurated in January 2016, Mr Surya said.

The BKKBN will also launch several programmes to control population growth and at the same time improve the quality of the "prosperous families" programme, the children's education campaign and the parenting campaign.