Yogi Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh government has introduced the draft of the population control bill titled – The Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization and Welfare) Bill, 2021. The draft bill has provisions that prohibit people with more than 2 children from subsidies and government jobs.
Listing incentives for public servants who adopt the two-child norm, the draft bill says, “Public servants who adopt the two-child norm will get two additional increments during the entire service, maternity or as the case may be, paternity leave of 12 months, with full salary and allowances and three per cent increase in the employer’s contribution fund under national pension scheme.”
While people who opt for sterilization after 1 child would have a slew of incentives including cash benefits(1 lakh rupees for a female child and 80 thousand rupees for a male child), people with more than 2 children would neither be eligible for government jobs nor the subsidies and ration benefits.
“In Uttar Pradesh, there are the limited ecological and economic resources at hand. It is necessary and urgent that the provision of basic necessities of human life including affordable food, safe drinking water, decent housing, access to quality education, economic/livelihood opportunities, power/electricity for domestic consumption, and a secure living is accessible to all citizens,” reads the draft bill.
Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state of the country; the resources are limited and people from certain communities strain these resources with multiple children. The government spends lakhs of rupees on children from poor families in form of subsidies, health infrastructure, education, and other public goods. Providing incentives including cash benefits of around 1 lakh rupees seems like a better trade-off, if the people from these communities have only 1 child.
Recently, the Assam government decided to adopt a strict two-child policy, which will bar individuals from availing benefits under certain state government schemes if they have more than two children. However, the people belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Tea Tribe community will be exempted from the two-child norms for availing state government’s schemes.
Himanta said that the 2-child policy cannot be implemented under central government schemes like availing free admission in schools and colleges, or for houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Apart from bringing state government schemes under the ambit of the two-child policy, Assam had, in 2019, decided that those with more than 2 children would not be eligible for government jobs from January 2021.
Some politicians at the Union level are also trying to pressure the union government to adopt population control norms because even if a state bars the people from availing state government welfare schemes if they had more than two children, welfare provided to people through central government schemes would be easily available to them.
Increased stress on natural resources due to the continuous spike in population has been a matter of concern, with mainly the economically weaker sections of the society facing the impacts of unchecked population growth. A few months ago, joining in the efforts towards checking inordinate population growth, Rajya Sabha MP, Rakesh Sinha had introduced a private member’s bill in the upper house, seeking to enforce a two-child norm. In the bill, the MP has proposed giving incentives to those adopting the small family practice of the 2-child norm and penalties for those failing to comply with it.
The state laws, without the Union government’s adoption of population control norms, would be very little effective. Therefore, it is important that not only the state government but the Union government also adopts such norms to control the population among certain communities.