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Population control or election stunt?

Posted in Featured, S. Asia

Published on July 20, 2021 with No Comments

On the occasion of World Population Day, on Sunday, 11 July, Chief Minister of the most populous state of India Yogi unveiled the state’s population policy 2021-2030 and announced its implementation. Uttar Pradesh currently has the highest population in any state in India, with 220 million people. Yogi Adityanath the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh emphasized that population control was the need of the hour and it was his government’s aim to bring the birth rate down to 2.1 by 2026. “Increasing population can be a hurdle in the way of development. Every community has been taken care of in Population Policy 2021-2030,” Yogi Adityanath said. However, while doing so he forgot certain aspects of the federal system that could damper his plans. In order to make a larger impact of the proposed policy he said that the population policy was not only about stabilizing the population, but also a means to bring happiness and prosperity in the lives of people.  He also made his plans known at social media platforms. Yogi Adityanath tweeted, “Increasing population is the root of major problems including inequality prevailing in the society. Population control is the primary condition for the establishment of an advanced society. Let us, on this ‘World Population Day’, take a pledge to make ourselves and the society aware of the problems arising from the increasing population.”

The draft of the bill has to incentivise families that choose to limit their children to two. This includes suggesting tax rebates for families with two or less children.  While there are incentives for those with two or lesser kids, there are disincentives for those with more. Those having  more than two kids you will be debarred from applying for government jobs, receiving subsidies or contesting local body polls. In case someone is already a government employee, the implementation of this policy would mean that he/she will be barred from getting promotions. Compare with other decisions of the government, in order to have a more inclusive decision,  suggestions from the public for the draft bill have been invited till 19 July. It states the necessity of controlling and stabilising the state’s population in order to promote equitable distribution of resources and sustainable development. It goes on to discuss how the state has limited ecological and economic resources, so it is ‘urgent’ that all basic necessities for human life are accessible to all citizens.

The timing of the move too raises questions, that comes in the run up to UP elections 2022, and makes it appear more like a political agenda than to address a socially challenging cause. More so, as population control is a subject of the Central government, the opposition has called the bill as an agenda to affect the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

The bill confines its applicability to only the Local Bodies elections. Hence, those contesting the elections of Legislative Assembly and the Parliament and having more than two children will not get affected.  Why only limit the bill to a few elected representatives? Shouldn’t the same be applicable to all those contesting any kind of election? Shouldn’t leaders lead by example.  Congress leader Salman Khurshid reacted sharply , “First, the government has to inform how many children do ministers have. After that, this act should be implemented.  

BJP has always blamed Muslims for the so-called ‘population explosion’. It has constantly tried to instil a fear among Hindus that Muslims are breeding fast with the intention to overtake them and capture political power.  Many BJP leaders have repeatedly urged Hindus to produce more children.

Chief Minister will have to come out clean with conflicting  views emerging from within his party, and explain it the bill has the approval of the BJP. If so, why the same  is not being drafted by the central government?






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