The UP Government led by Shri Yogi Adityanath has recently laid down a draft of population control legislation titled as Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation, and Welfare) Bill, envisioned for the period 2021-2030 on the occasion of World Population Day. The proposal aims to address the issue of rapid population growth through various incentives thereby promoting two child norms. Suggestions from the general public have been invited till July 19, 2021, to make certain changes.
The draft intends to provide measures to control and provide welfare to the population in light of the limited economic resources. The draft proposal intends to maintain the standard of living by ensuring food and nutrition, safe and drinking water through its limited economic and ecological resources. CM Yogi Adityanath has called for a community centric approach to population growth for the judicious distribution of State resources along with the prosperity of the State. He further quoted that the population growth is also linked to poverty.
Incentives of the Bill
The proposed Bill provides numerous incentives to the public servants following the two-child policy and voluntarily undergoing sterilization operation upon himself or the spouse. It provides for additional incentives to public servants following the one-child policy with the previously mentioned condition.
For couples (public servants) following the Two-child policy under Section 4
- Two additional increments during the entire service
- Subsidy towards the purchase of plot or house site or built house from Housing Board.
- Soft loan for construction or purchasing a house on nominal rates of interest.
- Rebate on charges for utilities such as water, electricity, water, house tax.
- Maternity or paternity leave of 12 months, with full salary and allowances.
- 3% increase in the employer‘s contribution Fund under national pension
- Free health care facility and insurance coverage to spouse
For couples (public servants) following one-child policy under Section 5
- Two additional increments during the entire services
- Free health care facility and insurance coverage to the single child till 20 years of age.
- Preference to a single child in admission in all education institutions such as AIIMS and IIMs.
- free education up to graduation level
- Scholarship for higher studies in case of a girl child
- Preference to a single child in government jobs
Special Incentives for people below Poverty Line
The draft proposal under Section 7 provides additional incentives to the couples living below the poverty line and following the one-child norms by providing monetary incentives of 80,000 in case of a male child and 1,00,000 in case of the girl child as a one-time incentive.
Rules for Debarring
The draft legislation restricts people having more than two children from the following categories of incentive/benefits:-
- He/she shall not be able to avail the benefit of Government-sponsored welfare schemes
- The limit of ration card entries shall be limited to four members.
- He/ she shall be ineligible to contest elections to the local authority or anybody of the local self-government
- He/she shall be ineligible to apply for government jobs under the State Government.
- He/she shall be ineligible to get a promotion in government services
- He/she shall be ineligible to receive any kind of government subsidy
The Bill provides certain exceptions for having a third child in the following cases:-
- In case of multiple births during pregnancy
- In case of adoption of third child under relevant laws
- In case of disability of the first or second child or both
- In case of death or first of second child or both[G10]
- The proposal was criticised on the ground that there is no need for population control legislation as the total fertility rate in Uttar Pradesh is already on the decline at 2.7 in 2015-16 against the rate of 3.8 in 2005-06.
- The bill provides for additional incentives as admission to college by undermining the merit factor.
- Itt was argued by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad that the provision suggesting a one-child policy for public servants should be removed as it may bear negative social and economic consequences and the ratio of the working-age population and the dependent population may get imbalanced.
The proposed legislation has been presented without a reasonable justification. The incentive provided under the Bill may end up putting extra financial pressure on the State’s economic resources in the COVID era. The population factor is already on the decline on account of certain factors such as raising awareness about contraceptives, family planning approach, and growing level of education. Examples can be drawn from the unjustified regulation of China where it has recognised its mistakes for regulation of population control. It has now allowed for having a third child as its dependent population was exceeding the working age population.