No govt job, subsidy for those with more than two children, says UP population control draft bill

UP population draft bill: Those with over two kids can't contest local polls, apply for govt jobs
Representative image/PTI

Lucknow: People having more than two children in Uttar Pradesh will be debarred from contesting local bodies polls, applying for government jobs or receiving any kind of subsidy, says a draft of a population control bill put up on the state law commission website.

The draft bill, for which suggestions have been invited from the public till July 19, also prohibits promotions in government jobs for such people, while offering incentives to those limiting their children to two.

The draft says it is necessary to control and stabilise the population of the state for the promotion of sustainable development with more equitable distribution.

Population control legislations are a political hot potato in the country, and recently Assam, another BJP-ruled state, had announced that it will gradually implement a two-child policy for availing benefits under specific schemes funded by the state.

The draft bill drew flak from the opposition parties on Saturday, with the Congress alleging it was intended to serve the BJP's "political agenda" ahead of next year's assembly elections in UP.

Samajwadi Party leaders called it a "murder of democracy".

The UP government, however, said it will also announce a new population policy for 2021-2030 on Sunday to incentivise people to help in population control.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will be releasing the New Population Policy 2021-30 on the occasion of World Population Day - July 11, an official statement said.

If enacted, the provisions of the proposed legislation titled The Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization and Welfare) Bill, 2021 will come into force after one year from the date of publication in the Gazette, according to the UP State Law Commission (UPSLC) website.

The provision of this legislation shall apply to a married couple where the boy is not less than 21 years of age and the girl is not less than 18.

Suggestions have been invited from the public to improve the draft bill and July 19 is the last date for it.

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 percent increase in the employer's contribution fund under the National Pension Scheme."

A state population fund will be constituted for its implementation.

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.

"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," the draft bill reads.

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.

On the proposed population policy, the state government said efforts will be made to increase the accessibility of contraceptive measures issued under the Family Planning Programme and provide a proper system for safe abortion,

Through improved health facilities, efforts will be made for population stabilisation by providing accessible solutions to impotence/infertility and reducing the newborns' and maternal mortality rate, it said in a statement said.

One of the key points in the new policy is to make comprehensive arrangements for the care of the elderly, apart from better management of education, health, and nutrition of adolescents between 11 to 19 years.

Reacting to the draft bill, Samajwadi Party MLC Ashutosh Sinha said, "Bringing this bill means the murder of democracy. This is an immature decision on the part of the Uttar Pradesh government."

Calling it BJP's "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 had 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".

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