Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma
Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma
Photo: ANI


CM Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said the Assam government will gradually implement a two-child policy for availing benefits under specific schemes funded by the state.

The proposed population control policy will, however, not be applicable in all the schemes in Assam immediately as many of the benefits are offered by the central government, Sarma said at a press conference here.

"There are some schemes for which we cannot impose the two-child policy, like availing free admission in schools and colleges, or houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana.

"But, in case of some schemes, say if a housing scheme is launched by the state government, the two-child norm can be introduced. Slowly in later stages, the population norm will come in every state government scheme," he added.

The CM also criticised the opposition for targeting the size of his parents' family. Sarma belongs to a family of five brothers. "There is no point in talking about what our parents did or other people did in the 1970s. The opposition is saying these strange things and pushing us back to 70s," he added.

The chief minister, who assumed office last month, has been advocating a two-child norm for using benefits under the government schemes.

On June 10, Sarma had spoken about recent evictions in three districts and urged the minority community to adopt "decent family planning policy" for population control to reduce poverty, which leads to shrinking of living space and consequent land encroachment.

He had also blamed the immigrant Muslim community for having large families, drawing sharp reactions from various quarters, including the AIUDF having a strong base in the community.

Assam CM appeals to opposition MLAs to join BJP



A day after four-time Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi announced his plans to join the BJP, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday appealed to all opposition legislators to join the ruling party.

Sarma was replying to a question on Kurmi, the Congress' lone legislator from the tea tribe community, who quit the grand old party and resigned from the Assam Legislative Assembly.

The MLA from Upper Assam's Mariani constituency had also announced that he would join the BJP on Monday in the presence of the chief minister.

"What will they do in the opposition benches for five years? I would rather say they should join us. Since we are working for the welfare of people irrespective of caste, creed and religion, I appeal to them (opposition members) to join us and work together for the public," the CM said.

While leaving the party on Friday, Kurmi had attacked the Congress leadership, alleging that the organisation has become "very weak" as the leaders "do not listen to the voice of the grassroots workers".

The assembly election results are a testimony of the fact as the party "failed in all the five states" where the polls were held in March and April, said the MLA from the tea tribe community which plays a decisive role in polls in Upper Assam.

"It appears that the party leadership is not willing to give an opportunity to people from the tea tribe or other marginalised communities but it is seen that people from a particular religious community are given prominence in the party," he said.

Leader of Opposition in the assembly Debabrata Saikia has termed Kurmi's exit as a loss for the party.

Another senior Congress leader Juri Sharma Bordoloi, who was the president of the Guwahati city district Congress and former national office-bearer of Mahila Congress, had also resigned from the party on Friday.

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