'Every Community is Taken Care of': UP CM Unveils Population Policy, Draws Flak
The Opposition Congress in the state has called the CM Adityanath's move a "political agenda"
On the occasion of World Population Day, on Sunday, 11 July, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath unveiled the state's population policy 2021-2030 and announced its implementation. He said that population control was the need of the hour and it was his government's aim to bring the birth rate down to 2.1 by 2026.
"Increasing population can be a hurdle in the way of development. Every community has been taken care of in Population Policy 2021-2030," Adityanath said.
The move, that comes in the run up to UP elections 2022, has drawn flak from Opposition leaders.
Yogi Says, Population Policy Aimed at Prosperity, Happiness
He said the population policy was not only about stablising the population, but also a means to bring happiness and prosperity in the lives of people. Uttar Pradesh currently has the highest population in any state in India, with 220 million people.
Adityanath tweeted, "Increasing population is the root of major problems including inequality prevailing in the society. Population control is the primary condition for the establishment of an advanced society. Let us, on this 'World Population Day', take a pledge to make ourselves and the society aware of the problems arising from the increasing population."
While the policy has been passed, there is also a draft bill that has been proposed along the same lines.
What The Draft Bill Says: Incentives Vs Disincentives
The draft of the Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization and Welfare) Bill, 2021, which is available on the UP government's website has promotions to incentivise families that choose to limit their children to two. This includes suggesting tax rebates for families with two or less children.
While there are incentives for those with two or lesser kids, there are disincentives for those with more. If you have more than two kids you will be debarred from applying for government jobs, recieving subsidies or contesting local body polls. If you are already a government employee, the implementation of this policy would mean that you will be barred from getting promotions.
Suggestions from the public for the draft bill have been invited till 19 July.
It states the necessity of controlling and stabilising the state's population in order to promote equitable distribution of resources and sustainable development. It goes on to discuss how the state has limited ecological and economic resources, so it is 'urgent' that all basic necessities for human life are accessible to all citizens.
The draft bill comes ahead of the state elections next year, and has emerged as a focus area for the government. The Bharatiya Janata Party drew flak from the Opposition in the state and has been accused of wanting to "murder the democracy" in Uttar Pradesh.
Opposition Slams Yogi Adityanath's Move
The Opposition Congress in the state has called the CM's move "political agenda". UP Congress Spokesperson, Ashok Singh, said, "The RSS and BJP leaders talk about decreasing the population. Population control is a subject of the Centre. Yogi Adityanath (CM) is bringing the bill keeping in mind the UP Assembly elections."
Congress leader Salman Khurshid in Farrukhabad said, "First, (the government) has to inform how many children do ministers have. After that, this act should be implemented. Legitimate and illegitimate children should also be counted."
Reacting to draft of the proposed bill, Samajwadi Party MLC Ashutosh Sinha said, "Bringing this bill means murder of democracy. This is an immature decision on part of the Uttar Pradesh government."
Last month, Iqbal Mehmood, the Samajwadi Party's MLA from Sambhal, said that any law on population control would be seen as a "conspiracy" against Muslims. That the CM's move was seen as an "attack on Muslims in the garb of population control".
PTI reported him to have said, "The rise in the country's population is due to the Dalits and tribals and not because of Muslims." He also added that Muslims had already understood the need to have two or three children.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)
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