Uttar Pradesh Population Control Bill: From Sharad Pawar to Nitish Kumar, who said what
Uttar Pradesh Population Control Bill: From Sharad Pawar to Nitish Kumar, who said what
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Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday unveiled a policy aimed at stabilising the population in the state and reducing maternal and infant deaths in a time-bound manner as he termed rising population a "hurdle in development".

The Uttar Pradesh Population Policy 2021-2030, unveiled on the occasion of World Population Day, also aims at bringing down the gross fertility rate among women to 2.1 by 2026 and to 1.9 by 2030.

A few days ago, a draft bill on population control was put up on the website of the Uttar Pradesh law commission inviting suggestions from the public till July 19. It says people having more than two children in the state will be debarred from contesting local body polls, applying for government jobs or receiving any kind of subsidy. It also seeks to prohibit promotions in government jobs for such people, while offering incentives to those limiting their children to two.

Unveiling the population policy on Sunday, Adityanath said, "Across the world, concerns have been raised from time to time about increasing population being a hurdle in development. Discussions on it have been going on for four decades." "The countries and states which have made efforts in this direction have seen positive results. However, more efforts are needed," he said, adding the Uttar Pradesh government was implementing this policy keeping in mind all sections of the society.

Besides seeking to achieve population stabilisation and reduce preventable maternal and infant deaths, the UP Population Policy also aims at preventing the death of children under the age of 5 years and improving their nutritional condition.

Addressing a function at his official residence, the Chief Minister said efforts to control population is linked to comprehensive awareness in the society. "We should not forget that the increase in population contributes to that poverty in the society. Hence, until all sections of society are made comprehensively aware, there will be a delay in fulfilling various goals. Every section of the society has to be associated with the awareness campaign," Adityanath said. If there is no gap between the birth of two children, it affects their nourishment, he said, adding the efforts made in the past four to five years have yielded good results, but more efforts are needed. The health of a mother and her child have to be linked with this, the CM said.

Meanwhile, there were many politicians who stood in support of the draft population control bill, while several others opposed it too.

Let us take a look at who said what:

1. Samajwadi Party MP Shafiqur Rahman Barq:

Hitting out at the UP government over its draft population control bill, Samajwadi Party MP Shafiqur Rahman Barq asked where will India get manpower in case of war if people are not allowed to procreate. The parliamentarian from Uttar Pradesh's Sambhal said it is Allah who decides the number of lives on earth and no amount of checks can control that.

Taking a jibe at the BJP government, Barq said, "As far as Yogi (Adityanath), PM (Narendra) Modi and (RSS chief) Mohan Bhagwat are concerned, they do not have children. Now, if entire India is not allowed to procreate and a situation arises that we have to face another country, from where we get men? This (draft population control bill) will prove to be a loss-making deal."

2. Sharad Pawar:

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said that the population needs to be controlled so as to sustain the country's economy, healthy living standards and a balanced environment.

"The message of population control needs to reach far and wide to sustain the nation's economy, gross national income, healthy living standards, and a balanced environment. Every conscious citizen should make a commitment to contribute to population control on the occasion of World Population Day," said Pawar on the occasion of World Population Day.

3. Devendra Fadnavis

Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis welcomed the Uttar Pradesh government's new population policy for 2021-2030 and said if needed, such a law should be formulated for the entire country. Talking to reporters, the BJP leader said such a law should be there in states where there is a huge "population explosion".

"We don't want to do it like China, but at the same time we need to control our population. We live in a democracy and if we implement such a law through incentives, then we can certainly control our population," Fadnavis said.

4. Union Minority Affairs Minister Abbas Naqvi

Hitting out at those critical of the Yogi Adityanath government's steps aimed at stabilising the population in Uttar Pradesh, Union Minority Affairs Minister Abbas Naqvi said the people doing politics or giving communal colour to such efforts were "enemies" of the state and the country. The BJP leader said population control is the need of the hour and it is heartening that the campaign for population control is being started from Uttar Pradesh, which is India's most populous state.

"Uttar Pradesh is working for awareness on population control, and we should welcome the step taken by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Ji. This step will prove to be a gift for the society and the generations to come," Naqvi said. "It is our responsibility to fulfil the aspirations of the people who have elected us and expressed their trust in us," he added.

5. Puducherry Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan

Puducherry Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan stressed the need for population control to eradicate poverty and hunger."Natural resources could be earmarked and shared judiciously as best as possible with population growth being under control," she said.

Noting that India is the second most populous country in the world, after China, she said there is an absolute need to control the population. Welfare of children could also be ensured with limited kids, the LT Governor claimed.

6. Vishwa Hindu Parishad

Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliate, registered its strong opposition to the draft proposal. VHP, in its letter to the state law commission, has not just cited policy's adverse impact on children, it also lists imbalance in communities as 'different communities respond differently to incentives or disincentives related to family planning and contraption.'

It also expressed concern about the Hindu population contracting whereas other communities are expanding. "The Total Fertility Rate of Hindus in states like Assam and Kerala has declined far below the replacement rate of 2.1 but that of Muslims is 3.16 in Assam and in Kerala, it is 2.33. In these states, one of the communities has thus entered the contraction phase while the other is still expanding," reads the letter.

7. Nitish Kumar

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said population control can't be attained by just making laws. However, he added that every state is independent to do what they want. "When women will be educated they'll become conscious enough and fertility rate will decrease," he added.

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(With input from agencies)

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