Population Control Bill 2019: Need for two child policy
Author: Kaanchi Ahuja, 3rd year BA LLB (Hons.) student at Ideal Institute of Management and Technology (affiliated to GGSIPU) INTRODUCTION According to World Population Prospects 2019 published by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, India's population in 2027 is projected to be 1.69 billion which will be higher than that of China. Given the limited resources at hand, it has become an urgent imperative to intervene and plan the process of demographic change. NATIONAL POPULATION POLICY (NPP), 2000 After the attainment of independence in 1946, the Bhore Committee became the basis for drafting a national population policy for the entire nation. It was in 1983 that the center adopted the National Health Policy, which emphasized the need for ‘securing the small family norm through voluntary efforts and moving towards the goal of population stabilization’. The National Population Policy (NPP) finally came into force in 2000. The Policy states that the immediate objective of the NPP 2000 is to address the unmet needs for contraception, healthcare infrastructure, and health personnel, and to provide integrated service delivery for basic reproductive and child healthcare. Twenty Four of the Indian states and union territories have already reached the replacement level total fertility rate (TFR) of 2.1 by empowering women and providing better education and health care facilities. However, NPP failed to prevent the diseases and the spread of the sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The failure of the NPP raised a question i.e. should India follow China’s One Child policy? CHINA’S ONE CHILD POLICY (1979-2015) Unlike China, India cannot follow the ‘One child policy’. One of the major disadvantage of the ‘One child policy’ was that it puts the lives of children at risk. As a result,abortion and abandonment of children arose. This created a situation which led to a rapid increase in orphans and murder of ‘children in womb’. In the 2015 the policy was scrapped off by government. POPULATION CONTROL BILL, 2019 The Population Control Bill, 2019 is a proposed bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha by Anil Desai which proposes incentives in taxation, education and employment for people who limit their family size to two children. By this bill the ‘two-child policy’ will be introduced in the country. The term Two-child policy is famously known as 'hum do humare do'. It is a government-imposed limit of two children per family. The Bill proposes for the incorporation of a new provision i.e. Article 47A (Duty of the State to promote small family norm) in Part IV of the Constitution. The proposed insertion of Article 47A withdraws all concessions from people who fail to adhere to the ‘small-family-norm. STATEMENT OF REASONS Given the need of the hour, it is imperative upon us to evolve a pragmatic strategy to address the emerging demographic development needs of the country. It may be appropriate to encourage the Indian population to opt for small family norms of up to two children. This choice shall have benefits on multiple scales- health of women and children will improve, burden in terms of health costs and lost opportunity cost to work of the family will reduce, women will find time to spend in school/college/universities, and become equipped to find employment/livelihood. IMPORTANT CHARACTERISTICS OF THE BILL The purpose of this Act is for giving effect to the policies of the State towards securing the principles laid down in clauses (1) & (2) of Article 38 of the Constitution of India.The bill states that it is applicable only to married couple. The bill provide benefits to couple who have only one child and voluntarily undergo sterilization by the government. The bill also states that a married couple having more than two children, shall be debarred from contesting in Lok Sabha, State Legislature,Panchayat elections and getting promotion in government services; Presently, six states including Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have made the two-child norm mandatory for all panchayat members. ADVANTAGES OF CHILD CONTROL POLICY 1) Reduce the fertility rate By implementing this policy, the government can control the fertility rate and thus solve the problem of overpopulation. 2) Reduction in unemployment The fall in birth rate offers a demographic dividend, as the economically productive proportion of the population grows more rapidly than the general population. 3) Overall better living standards The number of people living below poverty line is 21.2% of the population in India. Controlling the population and encouraging family planning can enhance living standards. 4) Reducing carbon emission Population control can help reduce carbon emission in India and help alleviate climate change. From controlling population growth, this can help suppress the increasing carbon emission in India. CONCLUSION The vast numbers of the people of India can be its greatest asset if they are provided with the means to lead healthy and economically productive lives. The Population Regulation bill will reaffirm India’s commitment towards a rights based approach to family planning if it is introduced with certain amendments.