Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state of India, has announced a legislature aiming to control the population. The opposition parties have raised concerns over the Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation, and Welfare) Bill 2021, stating that it promotes imbalance between communities. The policy aims at promoting healthcare, providing access to contraceptives, and safe abortions.
Alok Kumar the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Acting President wrote a letter to the Uttar Pradesh Law Commission stating that both the Hindu and Muslim communities might respond differently to the incentives and disincentives provided.
He provided the example of the fertility rate of Muslims in Assam and Kerala, which vary from 3.16 and 2.33, supporting his argument, he stated that the community has entered a contraction phase in one place, while the other is still expanding. He even cited the total fertility rate of Hindus in some states was below the replacement rate of 2.1.
He also stated that certain sections of the bill, especially those providing incentives, go beyond the objective of the legislation. He stated that the ratio between the working-age group and the dependent group will get disrupted by the introduction of the bill.
He said the one-child policy can lead to a situation where one working adult is taking care of two parents and four grandparents. He pointed out that a similar approach was taken by China in 1980, it was called the 1-2-4 phenomenon, which caused some inconsistencies due to which China relaxed its one-child policy.
Alok Kumar concluded that UP should refrain from providing incentives to couples with a single child, stating it will affect the demography.
The data collected through the fourth National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) revealed that the birth proportion was high among women who were provided with no education. Experts have stated that the two-child policy could lead to unsafe abortions, adversely impact the sex ratio, and cause economic disparity.
Bihar Chief Minister had stated that along with population control, education is a must to control the growth of the population. He stated that the rate of reproduction will effectively come down once the education of women is prioritized.
He asserted that Bihar had conducted experiments with educating women about the subject, and had witnessed some success. Nitish Kumar believes that further education among girls can lead to a negative growth of the population after 2040. He stated that a mere law cannot bring a significant change if it is not accompanied by education and awareness about population control.
The opposition parties have criticized the Uttar Pradesh bill, the leader of the opposition, Ram Govind Chowdhury, alleged that the government was attempting to divert the attention from law-and-order loopholes in the state by bringing the draft bill.
The chief of AIMIM, Asaduddin Owaisi, commented on the bill, stating that it violates Article 21 of the constitution. He said that Article 21 of the constitution provides each individual with the right to personal liberty. It said the bill violates the constitution, causing deprivation of personal liberty. Women should be provided with the right to decide because 93 percent of sterilization of women takes place in India, commented Owaisi.
The Uttar Pradesh government introduced a new legislature about population control for the period 2021-30. The legislature was unveiled on World Population Day.
The Chief Minister said it will take a community-centric approach to control the population, which will develop the community. The draft bill mentioned that those who violate the rule will be prohibited from contesting elections for the local body, they can be refrained from applying at government jobs or seeking subsidies from the government welfare schemes. It also proposes disincentivizing couples who have more than two children.
Alongside UP, several other states have also been implementing a similar policy. Poverty and illiteracy are some of the factors which lead to population growth. A lack of awareness adds to the population. Hence, the community-centric approach will attempt to create awareness.
It was revealed that the state’s total fertility rate is around 2.7 percent, which should be ideally around 2.1 percent. The policy will come under the Family Planning Programme. The government is expected to follow a five-pronged objective that focuses on improving health, increasing the accessibility of contraceptives, and measures and guidance for safe abortions.
India’s fertility rate was around 5.9 between 1950-55. After 1975, the rate has significantly decreased to 2.2. It is speculated that by 2025, the fertility rate of the country will fall by 1.93.