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From time to time, the alarm bell for ‘population control’ rings the loudest warning. This could be from international bodies or from within the Indian state. This time around, states like Assam and Uttar Pradesh and the Union Territory of Lakshadweep are taking the initiative to check the rise in their population. They have recognised the direct link between population growth and availability of resources viz. water, ecology-environment, electricity, hospitals/medical facilities to people etc. So, in the present session of parliament (July-Aug 2021) a private member bill was proposed by Rajya Sabha MP, Rakesh Sinha on population regulation that seeks to disqualify an MLA and MP or anybody from the local self-government, if he or she has more than two living children. On a larger scale, if the population of the world grows at this rapid pace, there will be land, food and water wars too.
Historically, the Communists and Left leaning intellectuals were silent on population growth. They somehow believed in Chairman Mao’s assertion that: ‘a large population is the wealth of a nation’. The tallest Russian leader, Stalin also echoed the same sentiment. His message to Russians was to go forth and multiply. The Indian Leftist intellectuals, occupying high positions in the establishment after independence, never looked at things objectively, based on the ground situation in India. Eventually, India has become the second largest populated country in the world, after China. Though this burgeoning population-growth is often said to bear a demographic dividend, the work-force in India, however, is not strong and sturdy enough. This is all due to resource crunch and malnourishment.
The anodyne equation: ‘effective birth control is directly connected to education’, is far-fetched. On the other hand, good education is possible only if parents limit the number of children since they could spend money on the quality education and health-care of their one or two children. They could also encourage their child’s talents viz. music, dance, drawing, painting, photography etc., (if any), that are outside the education curriculum. By limiting the number of progeny, family resources would not be drained. Each unit of a family’s welfare is contributory to the country’s welfare.
Culturally, India and China are somewhat similar in family values and systems. However, China has woken up to the fact that its population- increase is more of a deterrent than a stimulus to the nation’s development. So, the country applied stringent methods like: one or none policy to control birth rate. China’s: one-child-per-family, eventually succeeded. In any case, the program has its drawbacks. Like most Indians, the Chinese also prefer to have a male-child. The one-child policy led to widespread female infanticide and abortions in China. After becoming an economic giant with an ageing demography, China has relaxed its one-child policy to two/three (limited children).
Quintessentially, all religions are for propagation of human species. They are for procreation/pro-life. However, the majority Hindus in India, moved on with the time and adopted progressive family welfare methods to contain the number of children. Some minority religious groups (the Catholic church and Muslim fundamentalists) are still stuck with the formulations valid in the days of their prophets: where the world was underpopulated and when wars, epidemics and famines took a heavy toll of life. Even according to the last population census-2011, the rate of growth of population among Muslims was higher than among Hindus. So, if the minority community does not come on board, the country cannot progress. In this connection Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma’s efforts to talk to the minority groups about this issue, are a step in the right direction. Without the progress of the minorities, India would slow down—as the adage says — “The speed of a fleet is measured by its slowest vessel.”
Basically, India is a democracy. And is also a signatory against coercive family welfare measures, in the United Nations International Conference on Population in 1994 held in Cairo. India accepted a “voluntary” way of controlling the population. When this voluntary way would not work well in some of the states, the respective governments might rightfully take recourse to legislation. Shri Yogi Adityanath, the CM of Uttar Pradesh brought in the proposal of a new population policy draft Bill 2021 for control, stabilisation and welfare.
In that proposed Bill for Uttar Pradesh, many incentives and disincentives are specified. Those that abide by the two-child norm/policy get longer maternity and paternity leave with full salary, increase in employer’s contribution to pensions and two additional increments, subsidies to help purchase plots of land and rebates on utilities such as water, electricity and house tax etc., Here, it is pertinent to mention that the percentage of people working for the government is minuscule compared to the unorganised sectors. The women working in government and other jobs are privileged to get these perks whereas, the women at the basement level i.e., the daily-wage workers and labourers, who carry their child on shoulders should be assured of something; that is good health care, child-survival/child-mortality and contraceptives measures to have a gap between pregnancies. Otherwise, the right kind of justice is not done to all sections.
Finally, unless the Government at the Centre brings in a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for all citizens in India, this population regulation will not come properly into effect. For, the largest/biggest minority group in India is still remaining under personal law that permits polygamy. No liberal democracy has different laws for different groups of people. So, mainstreaming of the minorities is needed, at least on issues of: marriage, divorce, maintenance and inheritance, before promulgating two-children policy. In conclusion a population regulation policy is the need of the hour to ensure equitable distribution of resources and for the healthy growth of the nation.
The conclusion of the article is good. I completely agree with the author. UCC is urgently needed in our Country. I am hopeful about the present Government in this regard.
I read the article, very alarming situation prevailed, excellently narrated , very much impressed. Mam you are just rocking …keep on your working. More articles are to be published.
Very nice article with great narration.
Hi Indira! You presented the current scenario of the problem very well and also gave possible solutions Let us hope the present Government will act accordingly.
As you rightly said population Regulation Policy is a Must to avoid Resouce Crunch across All Groups
Very interesting article with great narration.
Population regulation will not come true unless central government implement uniform civil code to all the peole. Conclusion
Is also very good. Pl write number of articles to educate us.
Given present circumstances, I predict that UCC will be the first bill to be passed post-elections once BJP comes back to power again in May’2024. A bit of populism is expected to keep the voters happy until then.
Great Insights again in this article!
We wake up in fits and starts to formulate a progressive population policy.Once in a decade or so we realise the harm that the population explosion wreaks but are helpless to do anything about it.There has to be a reward for a small family in the form of benefits that a small planned and healthy family presents.But reactions to this problem is more on the lines of religious dogmas
Well written. Points out the importance of population control to best utilize the limited resources we have
The article highlights the adverse impact on explosive population and to cater to the needs of such growing population as it has direct link to resources. The example of China’s policy is worth the study. Unfortunately in our country several vested groups oppose the population policy for obvious reasons e.g. leftists quote Mao& Stalin which are irrelevant in the present context. The only solution seems to adopt a population policy applicable across the country for all religions without exception. Some states have already initiated steps in this direction. UCC is the urgent need to avoid discriminatory treatise. An excellent comprehension and the article is a good read which is apt in the current scenario. 👍🙌
Yes. Of course. In 1975 late Sanjay Gandhi was putting forth the efforts for family planning. Communists are generally against birth control as Marx thought that the population growth would not be in geometric proportion. What Marx failed to see was the availability of infrastructure in proportion to the population. For example, the vehicles on road can be increased and the available space for road is limited. In proportion to population the infrastructure cannot be increased.
If a child is born the government should take care of the child for minimum 60 years.
For equitable availability of resources, family planning and birth control are must.
The article is nice and to the point.
Arguements in favour of ‘women’s declaration of population policies (1994)’ and ‘ National policy for the Empowerment of Women (2001) ‘ have been given much thought and proposed bill for population control in U.P.by Sri Yogi Adityanath have been thoroughly examined by the writer.
Private bill presented by Sri Rakesh Sinha in Rajya sabha on population regulation bill no doubt needs support from all political circles and writer’s plea for uniform civil code requires much debate heavier than Triple Talaq as this is a much loaded one.
The Article is justified by all means as it carries one mantra ie how best we can control our population to compete our selves with those who dictate terms to world economy.
I fully endorse the views of the author. Uniform civil code is the need of the hour more so for controlling population at this alarming hour. It is already like a now or never situation. May be our constitution is too liberal to protect the beliefs of all religions unlike many countries who go by majorities’order of the day. This is going to jeopardize the welfare of the nation and hit hard the economic stability. Proactive measures to curtail certain misbeliefs of some minority groups with extraneous interests against population control should not be given heed to,and amendments if required in the constitution should be resorted to.