The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has raised objections to incentivising of public servants and others to follow the “one child norm” mentioned in certain sections of the proposed Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Bill, 2021 .
The objections pertain to not just a the fact that China has had to reverse its one child policy because of its negative impact of availability of a working population, but because of what the VHP terms “imbalance between different communities because they are known to respond differently to family planning and contraception” flagging different Total Fertillity Rates (TFR) between Hindu and Muslim communities in states such as Kerala and Assam.
The Bill has been published by the Uttar Pradesh Law Commission inviting suggestions and modifications, with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath actively promoting the Bill as a desired policy aim of his government.
VHP’s acting president Alok Kumar has written to the Law Commission formalising their objections citing the example of China and its government’s recent relaxation of the one child norm followed earlier to illustrate his point. He asked that Section 5, 6(2) and 7 of the Bill “go well beyond” the said objectives of the Bill which aims to stabilise the population and promote the two child norm. “The Sections 5, 6(2) and 7 of the Bill, which incentivise public servants and others to have only one child in the family go well beyond the said objects of the Bill in the Preamble,” said Mr. Kumar.
“In a contracting population, the ratio between the working age and dependent population gets disrupted,” said Mr. Kumar in his letter. “In an extreme case, the one child policy would lead to a situation where there is only one working age adult to look after two parents and four grandparents. In China, which adopted the one-child policy in 1980, it was called the 1-2-4 phenomenon. To get over it, China had to relax its one child policy,” said Mr. Kumar.
“In the case of Uttar Pradesh, the one child policy is likely to lead to further imbalance between different communities because they are known to respond differently to the incentives and disincentives related to family planning and contraception,” he added, citing examples of Assam and Kerala where he said, the TFR of Hindus was far below the replacement rate of 2.1 but that of Muslims was 3.16 in Assam and 2.33 in Kerala. “In these states, one of the communities has thus entered the contraction phase while the other is still expanding,” he stated.
Many States have some type of incentive programme for population control including Assam, with Uttar Pradesh less than a year away from Assembly polls, bringing in a draft law that promises to raise political heat.