On World Population Day today, Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India Sunday unveiled a new population policy 2021-2030 with a focus to increase the accessibility of contraceptive measures issued under the Family Planning Programme and provide a proper system for safe abortions.
The draft law has been prepared by the Uttar Pradesh Health Department based on the findings of the National Family Health Survey-4.
ABOUT THE NEW POLICY
According to the reports the draft law lists out incentives and disincentives for the promotion of the two-child norm in the state.
The incentives would be extended to anyone who adopts the two-child norm by undergoing voluntary sterilization operation upon himself or spouse. This will include a soft loan for construction or purchasing a house at nominal rates of interest and a rebate on charges for utilities such as water, electricity, and house tax.
The draft law also states that whosoever is in contravention of the two-child norm after the commencement of the Act shall be debarred from the benefit of all government-sponsored welfare schemes, cannot contest election to local bodies, shall be ineligible to apply for government jobs under the state government, cannot get a promotion in a government job, his or her ration card would be limited to four members, and he or she shall be ineligible to receive any kind of government subsidy.
WHEN WILL THE LAW BE ENFORCED?
The new law shall come into force after one year from the date of publication in the Gazette. Reportedly, the law will first invite public suggestions which will be revisited by the law commission, and if any changes are made it will again be put in the public domain.
WHY IS THE NEW POLICY BEING IMPLEMENTED?
Reports say that UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath said that along with awareness and better health facilities, all necessary efforts should be made for population stabilization. He said that while preparing the new population policy, efforts should be made to maintain the demographic balance in all the communities, easy availability of advanced health facilities, and to bring down the maternal and child mortality rate to the minimum level through proper nutrition.
The objectives of the new policy should be embedded in the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this, targets have been set on different parameters in two phases for 2026 and 2030.
WHICH OTHER STATES ARE IMPLEMENTING THE TWO-CHILD NORM?
Apart from UP, the Assam government may bring new two-child legislation during next month’s budget session of the state assembly to enforce it widely. The law could make only those with up to two children eligible for government jobs and welfare schemes, official sources have said.
WHAT IS THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING THE LAW?
The law has been termed as a conspiracy around Muslims by the Samajwadi Party MLA from Sambhal Iqbal Mehmood. “It is actually an attack on Muslims in the garb of population control,” Mehmood told PTI.
The law also impacts the remarriage for widowed or separated women, disincentivizing childbearing for previously married women can impact their socio-economic status and the possibility of remarriage.