This is the first time Modi has raised the issue, even though a section of the Bharatiya Janata Party has been vocal about the matter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday expressed concern over "population explosion" in the country, saying it causes innumerable challenges for the coming generations, and asserted that the central and state governments should launch measures to deal with the issue.
In his Independence Day speech, Modi said the time has come for "us to face the challenges facing the country head on" as he pitched for smaller families, saying if people are not educated and healthy, then neither their homes nor the country can be happy.
Keeping one's families small is an act of patriotism and those who do so deserve our respect and need to be felicitated, he said.
"Population explosion has been occurring at an unrestrained pace. This population explosion is creating innumerable challenges for us and the coming generations," the prime minister said, raising the issue for the first time even though many Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, especially those hewed to its hardline agenda, have long been voicing their concerns and have sought laws to this effect.
The prime minister called upon the people to learn from the "small section of society" which is aware and keeps its families small for their welfare that, he added, also contributes to the country's welfare.
If the population is educated and healthy, the country, too, will be educated and healthy, he said.
Turning his focus on the issue, Modi said the country has entered an era where it does not need to hide its problems and asserted that the time had come to face challenges head on.
Taking decisions by keeping in mind "political profits and losses" causes more problems for coming generations, he said, apparently targeting those critical of any move to curb population growth.
People should look at those who keep their families small and how they are able to meet the needs of children and educate them well, he said.
Modi pitched for spreading awareness in society, asserting that people need to consider if they are in a position to meet the requirements of their children adequately or will end up leaving them to their fate.
Having capable people and families is a beginning to fulfil the dreams of the 21st century India.