Critical Analysis of the Population Control Bill, 2020

In a nation of 1.5 billion individuals, the second-generally crowded on the planet simply after , with a rich exemplification of different ethnic, semantic and segment attributes, the structure presents a special chance to use the copious labour and hereditary assorted variety. Be that as it may, this populace presents a greater number of difficulties than benefits that have extensive financial, wellbeing, nourishing and political ramifications that are outside human ability to control.

According to the most recent United Nations Population Projections, is expected to outperform China by 2024 and will turn into the most crowded nation with a populace of 1.6 billion populace by 2050[1]. This immense populace size presents prominent difficulties to guarantee the availability of essential necessities of human life including adequate nourishment, safe drinking water, better than average lodging, access to quality education, monetary/job openings, and safe living.

Critical Analysis of the Population Control Bill, 2020

Background

In light of the aforementioned problems, the Population Regulation Bill of 2019[2] (private member’s bill) was introduced in the () by BJP Rakesh Sinha, in order to promote smaller family norms of up to two children per couple in order to control the insurmountable pressure on resources and development due to the overburdening populace. The goal of the proposed legislation was to stabilize the population in lieu of the needs of the national economy, ranging from social, economic, health or developmental needs, inter alia.  The Bill aimed to penalize those people who were having more than two children by cutting off the facilities available to them.[3]

This Bill was moved by Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai on February 7, 2020, thereby proposing a constitutional amendment for the government to provide certain incentives in taxation, employment, and education for .[4] It is being stated that a -era Bill, tabled during the Narasimha Rao government in 1992 is being studied to “assess its feasibility in present times.”

The then 79th Constitutional Amendment Bill, presented by Health Minister ML Fotedar, had proposed changes in Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Duties to advance populace control. The Bill had stipulated alteration to the Direct Principles of State Policy (Article 47) to give that “state will attempt to advance populace control” and incorporate the advancement and reception of the small family standard by residents as one of the central obligations (Article 51 A). The Bill, however, never became an act.

Critical Analysis of the Population Control Bill, 2020

Recently, Congress MP and lawyer planned to move a private member’s bill to enforce the two-child which brings in certain disincentives for those who do not comply with the policy, thereby barring them from contesting elections, getting promotions in government services, receiving government subsidy or applying for Group A jobs.[5]

Key Features

The Bill also aims to reward those who act in accordance with the norm and seeks to provide financial incentives to such couples who undergo voluntary sterilization. He suggests that the Centre give a lump-sum amount of Rs 60,000 if the single child is a boy or Rs 1 lakh if the child is a girl.

In order to prevent procreation of children, the Bill states that after one year of the commencement of the Act (if it comes into the picture), all employees of the central government would have to give an undertaking in writing to not procreate more children[6]. If any employee’s actions are found to be violative of the provisions of the said legislation, they should be liable for dismissal from service.

Critical Analysis of the Population Control Bill, 2020

As for the recruitments, the Centre would give preference to those candidates who have two or less than two living children. The Bill also mandates compulsory subject of population control in all senior secondary schools, and in states where the average fertility rate is more than the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman.[7]

The proposed legislation, if passed, would be the first in line to work in the area of family planning through serious efforts to control the population. In a country of one and a half billion people, it becomes imperative that such a measure be undertaken. Family planning policies had been in place even before the first Lok Sabha was sworn in. During the 1980s, the slogan “Hum Do Hamare Do” (We two, ours two) was popularized. The National Population Policy which came in the year 2000 had its objective to stabilize population by 2045[8]. However, on the whole, this goal is still not achieved and is still a distant dream that it would be in the near future.

However, certain states in the country like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan already have a two-child norm in place for governmental jobs.[9] The challenges to the policy still remain. In spite of such measures in place, India’s Total Fertility Rates (TFR) have not been able to achieve a replacement level of 2.1. The population decadal growth rate has declined from 21.5% from 1991-2002 to 17.7% during 2001-2011. However, this number is insignificant when it comes to the gargantuan population of the country.

Critical Analysis of the Population Control Bill, 2020

Analysis

Though the intent of this legislation is pious and essential in the present context in order to control and reduce the surge in population growth in our country, it fails to address certain key aspects that should have been included within the ambit of the Bill. The undermentioned are some concerns, in my opinion, that should be addressed during the debates if the legislation is tabled for further discussion-

  1. As atrocious as the one-child policy of China was, even the could have some serious repercussions on the reproductive health of women. Moreover, reproduction and biological processes are not an on-off switch which can be monitored.
  2. The disadvantages to the child born out of the two-child policy are horrendous. First, the denial of equal status as their peers. Second, shunning from society. Third, the guilt and shame of being born unplanned or due to any other reason may be so.
  3. Monitoring of abortions and unwanted pregnancies would be tougher and if the policy is implemented without such measures not being discussed and debated, the women carrying such babies would have to adopt for such abhorrent measures which would be detrimental to not only her health but the child too.
  4. For a couple have had twins or triplets, would they be allowed another child or would they have to shun one baby parent-less?
Critical Analysis of the Population Control Bill, 2020

These concerns have not been addressed and as easy as the policy sounds, implementing one would be difficult and the side effects take over the benefits and the aim behind the legislation proposed, provided it is passed and enacted (private member’s bill). If such a policy is passed, all such points must be addressed and encapsulated in it.

The best possible way is educating the people about the importance of planned parenthood and the availability of contraceptive measures to one and all. For that, it’s high time that the taboo behind sex is shunned. A society can only progress when its citizens are the frontrunners driving the wheel and direction of the country and it’s essential that the citizens act now.


[1] World Population Prospects 2019, United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division.
[2] Bill No. XVIII of 2019
[3] Section 7, Population Regulation Bill, 2019
[4] Spadework for population law begins, The New Indian Express, 15th February 2020, URL < https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2020/feb/15/spadework-for-population-law-begins-2103648.html>, assessed on 26th Mar 2020
[5] Manoj C G, Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi to move Bill for enforcing two-child norm, The Indian Express, 14th March 2020, URL < https://indianexpress.com/article/india/congress-abhishek-singhvi-population-control-bill-rajya-sabha-6313439/>, assessed on 26th Mar 2020
[6] Section 12, Population Control Bill, 2019
[7] Aditya AK, Couples with more than two children barred from contesting elections, cannot avail subsidies: AM Singhvi Population Control Bill, Bar and Bench, 14th March 2020, URL < https://www.barandbench.com/news/couples-with-more-than-two-children-barred-from-contesting-elections-cannot-avail-subsidies-am-singhvi-population-control-bill-read-bill>, assessed on 26th Mar 2020
[8] Prabhash K Dutta, Is the two-child policy a realistic goal in India? India Today, 23rd October 2019, URL < https://www.indiatoday.in/news-analysis/story/is-two-child-policy-a-realistic-goal-in-india-1612148-2019-10-23>, assessed on 26th Mar 2020
[9] Two-Child Policy: Is ‘Two-Child Policy’ Required For India, 25th October 2019, URL < https://www.jatinverma.org/two-child-policy-is-two-child-policy-required-for-india>, assessed on 26th Mar 2020

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