This article is written by Daksh Ghai, from Symbiosis Law School, Noida. The article provides a brief overview of Uttar Pradesh’s draft population control Bill, the incentives and disincentives it provides to the individuals following the child policy and the need for population control measures
Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state, having a population of roughly 220 million people. On World Population Day, July 11, 2021, the Uttar Pradesh government introduced a new population Bill known as the Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization, and Welfare) Bill, 2021. The Draft of the Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization, and Welfare) Bill, 2021, prepared by the Uttar Pradesh Law Commission (UPLC), intends to address the state’s population problem. The Bill will apply to married couples in which the guy is at least 21 years old and the girl is at least 18 years old. The Bill will be voluntary in character, meaning that it will not be enforced on everybody.
Who will benefit or suffer as a result of the Bill?
For those with two children
This applies to everyone who adopts the two-child standard by undertaking voluntary sterilisation on himself or the partner. A soft housing loan, as well as a refund on utility rates such as water, electricity, and property tax, are among the incentives available. Government employees who have two children will receive two additional increments throughout their career, a 12-month maternity or paternity leave with full pay and benefits, and free health care and insurance cover for their partner.
For those with a single child
Those with only one child and opt for voluntary sterilisation will also receive free health care and insurance coverage for the single child until the age of 20, priority in admission to all educational institutions, which would include IIMs and AIIMS, free education up to graduation level, and a scholarship for higher studies in the case of a girl child and in government jobs, a single child will be given preference. Apart from the incentives provided to the general population who follow the one-child rule, governmental employees will be eligible for four more raises in total.
A couple living below the poverty line with only a single child and undergoing voluntary sterilisation on oneself or spouse would also be entitled to a one-time lump-sum payment of Rs 80,000 if the single child is a boy and Rs 1 lakh if the single child is a girl from the government.
According to the draft proposal, anyone with more than two children in Uttar Pradesh following the law’s enactment will be excluded from all government-sponsored aid programs. He or she will be unable to compete for local bodies, will be ineligible to apply for state government posts, will be unable to get promoted in a government job, his or her ration card will be limited to four people, and he or she will be ineligible to receive any sort of government assistance.
The major objectives of the policy
We have been cautioned as a country about population explosion, and it is believed that the state’s continued population expansion will lead to a burden on the natural resources, as population growth tends to exceed and strangle economic progress. Efforts to stabilise the population are linked to societal awareness and it’s important to remember that population increase is proportional to unemployment and illiteracy. As a result, population control and stabilisation is an important element of the answer to this problem.
Aids in the reduction of preventable maternal and infant deaths
Provisions have been added to ensure that all people have access to health care, with a special focus on pregnant women, by establishing maternity centres in all primary health centres and providing iron and vitamin tablets to pregnant women. Vaccination and immunisation efforts will be held on a regular basis to prevent youngsters from numerous health concerns.
Increasing public knowledge regarding population control as well as measures to promote gender equality in all aspects of life
Population control as a subject would be taught in schools, and extensive information and education efforts to raise public knowledge about the advantages of having small families and the healthy birth spacing would be organised.
What are the exceptions?
In certain exceptional cases, several safeguards have been included in the legislation to ensure that it is fair to parents.
- If a second pregnancy results in multiple births or if the initial pregnancy results in more than two babies.
- Those who adopt a third child after having two children through marriage would be exempt from the law.
- Those who have a third kid and one of their two children is disabled are likewise excluded.
- Parents who have lost one or both of their children however have a third child will not be breaking the law.
Various modes of population control taken up by the governments of India
The process of purposely controlling the pace of growth of a human population is known as population control. According to a United Nations estimate released in June 2019, India will replace China as the world’s most populated country around 2027. An increase in population has a number of negative consequences, including putting undue strain on natural resources. More population equals more consumption, which equals more exploitation of resources that are limited.
Minimum marriage age
Child marriage is a major issue in nations with large populations, such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Marriage at a young age also deprives people of the necessary knowledge and awareness to be sensitive to and realize the repercussions of having too many children. Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated on India’s 74th Independence Day that the government will consider the minimum age of marriage for girls based on the recommendations of a committee established by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development. The proposal is focused on raising the legal age for girls to marry.
The role of education
Education alters people’s perspectives. Educated individuals tend to adhere to small-family values. Educated women are more health concerned and avoid having several pregnancies, which helps to reduce the birth rate. As a result, education should be provided with opportunities to grow socially and economically.
Despite expensive medical care, some parents are unable to produce a child. They should consider adopting orphaned children. Orphaned children and couples will benefit from it. The Ministry of Women and Children’s Development intends to create financial incentives for child care organisations that promote the adoption of children in their care.
People must be informed and made aware of the implications of having too many children. Government and non-government organisations can run public awareness programmes reminding people that if they have too many children, they will be unable to provide them with enough nourishment, education, and medical care. The negative repercussions of population growth, which include illiteracy, diseases, and malnutrition, must be presented to the general public in order to increase their reasoning and understanding. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for Indians to have small families earlier this year, he may have had those facts in mind.
India is set to overtake China’s population, a population regulation Bill seeking a two-child policy in July 2019 was put forward in Parliament, calling for action against people with more than two living children.
This approach requires having a family by choice rather than by coincidence. People can control the birth rate by taking preventive measures. In 1952, India became the first country in the world to implement a national family planning programme. Since its inception in 1952, the Family Planning Programme has seen significant changes in terms of policy and programme implementation. This approach requires having a family by choice rather than by coincidence. People can control the birth rate by taking preventive measures. This approach is widely utilised; nevertheless, its efficacy is reliant on the availability of inexpensive contraceptive devices.
Why India needs population control policies?
The consequences of a rapid population expansion are both destructive to people and the environment, which is why population control needs critical intervention now. The following are the main consequences of population growth.
Exhaustion of natural resources
It is generally known that nature has provided us with both renewable and non – renewable resources such as water, air, food, oil, coal, and fuel, among others, which have become a component of human beings’ everyday routine. Though some of these resources are limitless, others are finite and are being used to meet the demands of an ever-increasing population.
There is already an element of income inequality in India, with the rich being excessively wealthy and the poor being extremely deprived. As the country’s population grows, so does the country’s unemployment rate, as the number of people outnumbers the number of jobs available, high unemployment rates will increase income disparities among the population, affecting the nation’s economy.
High cost of living
Overpopulation causes disparities in demand and supply for various goods. The population increase will raise demand, resulting in higher prices for commodities such as food, shelter, and healthcare. This means that individuals will have to pay more for even the most basic requirements such as food and shelter.
Land or soil degradation
Land degradation, among other things, can accelerate climate change and endanger agricultural production, quality of water, biodiversity, sustainable development, human and wildlife living circumstances. Agricultural development has direct environmental repercussions due to farming activities that lead to soil erosion, land salinization, and nutrient loss. The growth of the green revolution has been accompanied by overexploitation of land and water resources, as well as a rise in the usage of fertilisers and pesticides.
UP population control law : will discrimination increase awareness about population control?
Anyone in Uttar Pradesh with more than two children after the law’s enactment will be barred from all government-sponsored aid programmes, according to the UP Population Control Bill, families with more than two children will have their ration cards limited to four persons; as a result, people with more than two children will be unable to run for local office or apply for government jobs. As a result of the discriminations and large scale information campaigns, it is possible to conclude that more individuals will become aware of population control
Criticism of the Bill
- The burden of sterilising is often carried by women in our excessively patriarchal culture. This means that attempting to obtain the incentives will not only have a negative impact on many women’s health, but it may also cause other issues. For example, if a woman is coerced into sterilisation after the birth of one kid, and this child is female or dies, the woman is almost certainly going to be divorced. After that, the guy is free to marry again, whereas the woman’s future is quite uncertain due to her sterilisation. This isn’t an exaggerated assumption. There have been numerous incidents of women enduring domestic violence, divorce, and death as a result of giving birth to girls. Female sterilisation is used by 17.3 percent of women in Uttar Pradesh, compared to just 0.1 percent of male sterilisations, according to the National Family Health Survey 4 (NFHS-4). In comparison to male sterilisation or contraception, female sterilisation is more dangerous and irreversible.
- The indicated disincentives are exceedingly harsh, employees with more than two children will not be eligible for promotions or raises. Those who break the two-child rule will lose access to all government-sponsored social programmes. Subsidized rations will be limited to four people per family, and violators will be prevented from running for local government positions. Other disincentives (not listed or defined) can be administered as well.
- The method is anti-poor; many surveys, such as the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), have shown that people on the lowest rungs of the social and economic hierarchy are more likely to have more than two children.
Countries that have enacted population control policies
For several years, China has enacted a one-child policy, which is enforced through a system of fines and is relaxed after mass bereavement such as the Sichuan Earthquake; China’s focus on population control helps provide better health services for women and reduces the risks of death and injury associated with pregnancy. Women can get free birth control and prenatal education at the family planning offices.
Kenya was the very first nation in Sub-Saharan Africa to recognise population increase as a severe hindrance to economic progress, and it was also the first to launch a national family planning effort in the late 1960s. The official population policy of the government calls for harmonising population size to available resources, although it leaves family size decisions to individual families.
Population stabilisation is not only about controlling population growth, but also entails gender parity. So, states need to incentivize later marriages and childbirth. However, it is all about the control that women have over fertility decisions. This is one reason why India’s fertility rate is 2.2 even when a large majority of Indian women – cutting across caste, geography, income and religion – want to have fewer than two children. India’s southern states have lowered their fertility rates. It is vital to remember that they did this, not by adopting coercive policies, but by ensuring greater empowerment of women through increased access to education, economic and other development opportunities. Also, the population can be seen as a resource rather than a burden. Instead of population control policies at the state level, India needs a universal policy to utilize population in a better way. The Economic Survey, 2018-19, points out that India is set to witness a sharp slowdown in population growth in the next two decades.
Unveiling a new population policy for 2021-2030 recently, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the aim of the policy is to bring down the state’s birth rate to 2.1 per thousand population by 2026 and to 1.9 by 2030. Uttar Pradesh’s current fertility rate is 2.7 per thousand population. With a rise of population in the country and Uttar Pradesh being the most populated state, the draft legislation along with the population policy is introduced with the aim to keep the state’s population under control and stable in order to promote sustainable development. The bill does two things; one, it incentivizes employees and their spouses to pursue sterilization after having two children with promotion, increments, and education for children; and two, it bars those with more than two children from applying for government jobs, seeking promotions, benefiting from government subsidies, and contesting for local body elections.
- THE UTTAR PRADESH POPULATION (CONTROL, STABILIZATION AND WELFARE) BILL, 2021
- World Population Prospects 2019
- Family Planning
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