CM Yogi Adityanath in his attempt to control the increasing population of Uttar Pradesh released the draft of a new population policy. This UP Population Control Bill 2021 which also aims at maintaining a population balance between different communities, If implemented, will refute all men and women with more than two children from various government benefits including jobs, subsidies and facilities.
Although the bill seems to be progressive and a co-relation link has been established between ‘population control’ and ‘development’, the new policy can lead to various dangerous consequences going by the previous data, research studies and expert analysis.
Here we share few reasons as to why Adityanath’s Population Control Bill in Uttar Pradesh can have adverse effects on its people especially women.
Female Feticide Will Be Rising and So Will Be the Unwanted & Unsafe Abortions
In his statement, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said how overpopulation is the root cause of many major problems including inequality. However, if the two-child policy turns out to be a law and it becomes a standard obligation for many governmental facilities, the burden and pressure straight away will fall on women as others will have more intervention over their own bodies.
Going by the Indian society’s preference for male children amongst all classes, the population control could even further degrade the sex ratio at birth. From unwanted abortions to unsafe abortions and even female feticides – the population control bill unintentionally will have a drastic effect on the health of women.
So, if the UP government wants to deal with the rising population in an efficient way, don’t you think a much better way is to have a competent, resourceful and much well-organized healthcare system with more education and awareness amongst people and better access to contraception?
UP Population Control Bill 2021 Disadvantages: What About People Giving Up Children and Leaving Them for Adoption?
Going by the past, a percentage of Indian men including politicians have had both legitimate as well as illegitimate (born out of wedlock) kids. Do you think with such laws men will ever accept and father kids born out of wedlock if they are barred from government jobs or from contesting elections? In a conservative patriarchal society like India don’t you think more and more kids will then be left for adoption even if they somehow pass the abortion phase?
5 states – Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha prohibits individuals from contesting local body elections if they have more than two kids. A 2005 study reveals how men in these five states with the intent to contest polls have been giving up children for adoption along with alienating their wives or divorcing them.
The Penalty (De-Incentivization) of Having More Than 2-Children Will Further Affect the Poor
Going by the draft of UP Population Control Bill 2021 there will be several additional provisions for those who will follow the two-child policy including rebates in electricity bills, water bills, house taxes and loans. And for government employees, the perks will include extra increments and Employee PF. On the contrary, families with more than 2-child will be barred from all the government subsidies, welfare schemes and won’t be allowed to apply for government jobs and from contesting local body elections.
The Chief Minister and the policymakers should understand that it would be only unfair to bar families especially the poor ones from government welfare schemes. The reason being, at times, people have more kids mainly due to the lack of awareness, inability to afford contraceptives and/or abortion. So, if the subsidies and opportunities are taken away from such poor people they are going to suffer more – ultimately giving rise to more inequality. With so many people losing jobs especially in the informal sector during pandemics such policy will only push the poor people further down.
Shouldn’t there be a policy that is based on choice so that citizens voluntarily decide to have few kids rather than imposing a negative model of punishing akin to the China-style?
With Remarkable Drops in Fertility Rates, Do We Need Such a Population Control Bill?
According to the government data, the fertility rate in the state of Uttar Pradesh dropped down to 2.7% in 2016 from 4.82% in 1993, and by 2025 (in almost 4 years) it is expected to touch 2.1%. Country-wise too there has been a significant drop in the total fertility rate – from 6.0 in 1951 to 2.2 in 2015. Almost a year ago Dr Harshvardhan revealed how India’s birth rate is projected to decline to 1.73 from 2.37 by 2035. Now that both UP and India is doing much better in terms of family planning and even reaching close to stability, do we really need a population control bill in Uttar Pradesh?
In addition, let me bring to your notice that three states in South India i.e Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala have significantly brought down the fertility rates in their state without such policy in place – instead, they focused more on awareness and education. The state of Uttar Pradesh too needs to focus on people empowerment through education and awareness rather than wanting to implement UP Population Control Bill 2021 ahead of the upcoming elections.
When the pandemic-hit state is already facing issues like increasing unemployment, poverty and economic crisis (families even losing the sole breadwinner), don’t you think bringing Population Control Bill not just makes the government appear insensitive but also further illustrates the lack of empathy towards its own people – especially now that the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections are just around the corner?
Lastly, the people of Uttar Pradesh do not need a population control policy from the Adityanath led BJP-Government. Instead, they need better education and public health policy along with comprehensive development and economic strategy – What do you think?