On World Population Day, the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission released a draft bill: the Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Bill, 2021 aimed at stabilising the population in Uttar Pradesh. The State’s total fertility rate is 2.7 percent currently whereas it should ideally be less than 2.1 per cent, according to a government spokesperson.
Ahead of the 2022 assembly elections the Chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adithyanath unveiled the policy basing his concerns on the exploding population in his state: “Poverty and illiteracy are major factors for population expansion. There is also a lack of awareness about population in certain communities and we therefore need community-centric awareness efforts.”
This bill aims at implementing a two-child policy to control the population expansion in the state which is stated as the major reason for unequal distribution of limited resources in the state. The policy lists out some incentives and disincentives that will work to implement a two-child norm in the state.
Government employees who will adhere to population control norms, such as having two or fewer children followed by voluntary sterilization will receive incentives such as promotions, increments, concessions in housing schemes and other perks. Whereas non-government employees will get benefits like relief on taxes on water, housing, home loans etc. The draft Bill also mentions a list of disincentives. Government-sponsored welfare schemes will not be extended to all those who will not adhere to the two-child norm moreover they will be restrained from applying to any State government jobs. Serving government employees who violate the rules will be denied promotion. Offenders will be prohibited from contesting elections.
Other segment of the policy focuses on comprehensive arrangements like increase in the accessibility and availability of contraceptive measures and enhance the system for safe abortion. The bill also aims at reducing the new-borns’ and maternal mortality rate, focuses on care of the elderly, better management of education, health, and nutrition of adolescents.
The bill has received more than 8000 suggestions. Of the many aspects of the population policy few has been the point of discussion and debate since the bill has come out. Studies suggest that examples of other states in India show us that there are more constructive alternative measures available to control the growth of population in spite of having a model of incentives and disincentives. Starting with improving public health and access to education.
Some critics debate that U.P. ‘s draft population control law, arguing it will grossly impinge on the right to reproductive freedom and will have deleterious consequences. The skewed sex ratio in the state will further deteriorate with families opting for female infanticide in hope of having a son and also conforming to the two-child norm.
Originally posted on www.kpalegal.com on 9th August 2021