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Bogey of population explosion: a Fascist fixation

Bogey of population explosion: a Fascist fixation

UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath (file photo)

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's UP Population Control Bill 2021, released as part of the Sangh Parivar's firm resolve to implement the Hindutva agenda one by one, has become the subject of discussion countrywide. As per the bill, individuals with more than two children cannot contest in local elections, won't be considered for government jobs, will be excluded from welfare schemes, subsidies, job promotions, and ration lists. If couples with two children undergo sterilisation procedures they will be given benefits including home loans, special consideration in water, electricity, and home tax, two incentives for government employees, and one year long maternity leave with salary. For couples who stick to one child alone, the package of benefits includes free treatment, insurance for the children until 20 years of age, priority in getting admissions into educational institutions, scholarships for the girl child, and priority in receiving government employment. If the bill, which is open to public comments and responses until July 19, becomes a law, it will be enacted within a year. The provisions of the UP bill are similar to the bill proposed in Assam. Reports suggest that there are plans to present a bill along similar lines in Parliament in the next session to implement a similar private bill across the country.

But the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a key component of the Sangh Parivar, was the first to slam the bill. Acting President of the VHP, Alok Kumar, disagrees with it for the suspicion that communities will not react in the same proportion to the single-child policy. He warned that while some continue as before in their child-planning without heeding benefits, others will abide by the same, creating a social imbalance. Or rather, put plainly, Hindus will decide to have a single child to claim the benefits; Muslims, on the other hand, will continue without opting for it and their population will increase. In the letter to the UP State Law Commission, Kumar further reminded that China, which had strictly imposed the one-child policy, later relaxed the law and promoted families of two and three children. The VHP leader also highlighted the situation in which one person in a family will be forced to protect a family, including parents and grandparents. However, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is of the opinion that population control is not possible through such legislations. Nitish Kumar clarified his stance tht through such legislations population control could not be achieved, while responding to the demand raised by the Minister for Rural Development in his cabinet and state BJP leader Giriraj Singh for a legislation similar to UP in Bihar to control its population. Nitish Kumar also says that in his experience educating girls in Bihar is the sole practical way to control population. However, BJP MLA from Bhishti reiterates the oft-repeated Sangh Parivar suspicion: there is a conspiracy to convert India into an Islamic country.

It is under the pretence of development that the saffron leaders are talking about population control and drafting crude laws; but their intentions are clear. On one side, there is a planned effort to restrict the Muslim minority's citizenship rights and on another, new ways are being devised to deny something as basic as equal opportunities to one section of population. They do not seem to learn from the experiences of countries like Singapore and China who had strictly implemented the one child policy. When the population was controlled with artificial means, the elderly population grew disproportionately and available workforce diminished, seriously affecting the human resources there. When incentives to promote more children were introduced, albeit late, the people did not respond positively both because of increasing expenses and a changed lifestyle. Luckily, in India we have a large population of talented youth who can study, think and work. What we lack are policies that can make the best use of their potential. It may not take long for those who who look at caste and religion and suffer from paranoia to see the consequences of their actions.

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TAGS:UP Population Control Bill Incentives and disincentives Fascist Bogey Singapore China experience 
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