The Uttar Pradesh Law Commission on Friday released the first draft of the proposed 'UP Population (Control, Stabilization and Welfare) Bill, 2021' in the public domain and invited suggestions by July 19.
Under the proposed population control bill in Uttar Pradesh, any couple who would follow the two-child policy will receive perks from the government, said state's Law Commission chairman Aditya Nath Mittal on Saturday.
"State Law Commission has given a proposal for population control and welfare. We have proposed that any couple that follows the two-child policy will be given all government benefits. They will be able to avail all government welfare schemes," Mittal told news agency ANI.
He further informed that the new bill has provisions to debar people, who have more than two children, from benefitting government schemes.
"If somebody doesn't follow this policy, they won't be eligible for such schemes. Their ration card will be restricted to four units. They will not be able to apply for government jobs and if they are already government employees, then they won't get a promotion," Mittal stated.
However, the Law Commission chairman added that adherence to the policy will be a voluntary exercise. "If a person voluntarily keeps the number of his family members limited, they will be eligible for government schemes," Mittal said, adding that they are planning to present the Bill to the government by the second week of August.
Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization and Welfare) Bill, 2021 draft:
Listing incentives, 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 the National Pension Scheme." A state population fund will be constituted for its implementation, it says. Listing the government duties, the draft bill says that maternity centres will be set up at all primary health centres.
The centres and NGOs will distribute contraceptive pills, condoms, spread awareness about family planning methods through community health workers and ensure mandatory registration of pregnancies, deliveries, births and deaths across the state, it says.
The draft bill also says that it shall be the duty of the government to introduce a compulsory subject relating to population control in all secondary schools.
The draft bill further reads, "In Uttar Pradesh, there are 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." It is necessary to control and stabilise the population of the state for promotion of sustainable development with more equitable distribution, it says.
It is necessary to ensure healthy birth spacing through measures related to augmenting the availability, accessibility and affordability of quality reproductive health services to achieve the goal of population control, stabilisation and its welfare in the state, it says.
Yogi Adityanath govt to unveil policy on population control for 2021-30:
The Yogi Adityanath government will unveil its new policy on population control for 2021-30 on the occasion of the World Population Day on July 11. The Chief Minister has called for a community-centric approach to population control so that better facilities may be made available to the people and the state can be developed properly.
"Poverty and illiteracy are major factors for population expansion. There is also a lack of awareness about population in certain communities and we therefore need community-centric awareness efforts," he said in a statement.
According to a government spokesman, Uttar Pradesh's total fertility rate is 2.7 per cent currently whereas it should ideally be less than 2.1 per cent. Most states have achieved this, with the exception of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
In August 2019, Yogi Adityanath had stressed on the urgent need for population control in the state. He had tweeted: "I request UP's 23 crore population to take inspiration from our prime minister's message, 'Nuclear family is an expression of patriotism'. Spread this message among the masses and make population control a movement." He also stated that the government wants that everyone gets resources and the quality of life improves. But population control has become a tough challenge in front of the nation. Everyone should get good health services, better education, roads, drinking water and other basic facilities and this is possible only when we control our population, he had added.
Adityanath's comments had come after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2019 Independence Day speech where he had spoken about population explosion.
Reactions to the draft bill:
Reacting to draft of the proposed bill, Samajwadi Party MLC Ashutosh Sinha said, "Bringing this bill means murder of democracy. This is an immature decision on the part of the Uttar Pradesh government."
Terming the move as a "political agenda" ahead of the Assembly polls, UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh in a Hindi tweet said, "The RSS and BJP leaders talk about increasing the population. Population control is a subject of the Centre. Yogi Adityanath (CM) is bringing the bill keeping in mind the UP Assembly elections."
In June, Sambhal MLA Iqbal Mehmood had said that any law on population control would be a "conspiracy" against Muslims. "The rise in the country's population is due to the Dalits and tribals and not because of Muslims," the SP MLA had said. The Sambhal legislator further said that Muslims have already understood the need to go for two or three children and suggested that the Dalits and tribals were responsible for the "increasing population". The SP legislator had also alleged that the move was "actually an attack on Muslims in the garb of population control".
Uttar Pradesh following Assam's line:
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had in June announced that his newly-formed government would gradually implement a two-child policy for availing benefits under specific schemes funded by the state. "Be it a loan waiver or any other government scheme, we will slowly implement a population policy for these schemes. The population norms will not be applicable to tea gardens, SC, ST communities, but will be imposed on all others availing benefits from the government in future because the population policy has already started in Assam,” Sarma had said at a press conference.
However, he had added that his government can’t impose two-child norms under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana but it will be implemented under schemes like Arunodoi and Chief Minister Awas Yojana. "We will introduce population norms in other government schemes gradually,” he further said. He had also advised the minority community to adopt decent population control measures to reduce poverty and pressure on land.
(With input from agencies)