Days after Bihar BJP Chairman Dr Sanjay Jaiswal called on Nitish Kumar’s government to start giving incentives to encourage population control, the Janata Dal (United) on Tuesday offered a point-in-time rebuttal of the claims of the ally and added that education and awareness, not incentives, will help. curb the population.
JD(U)MLC and party spokesman Neeraj Kumar also said it was wrong to blame Muslims for the population growth, as the difference between the fertility rate of Muslims and Hindus had grown from 1.1 in 1992 to 0.36 in the latest health survey.
The Indian Express of June 10 had published a report ‘Bihar population control: after Nitish lawlessness, BJP ally to reward those with only two children‘.
Previously, senior BJP leaders including Union Minister Giriraj Singh and Bihar BJP Minister Neeraj Singh Bablu demanded a population control law and extraordinary measures to control the population.
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Responding to the BJP, Neeraj Kumar told The Indian Express: “The BJP gave half truths about the people of Bihar. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), Bihar’s fertility rate in 2019-21 was 2.98 compared to 3.41 in the 2015-16 NFHS-4. It is a fact that the fertility rate fell the fastest in Bihar after Nagaland in 2019-21, when Bihar’s fertility rate dropped to 0.43 from a national average of 0.2.
Neeraj Kumar added, “It is also wrong to blame Muslims for the increase in population, as the difference between Hindu and Muslim fertility rates fell from 1.1 in NFHS-1 in 1992 to 0.36 in 2019-21 (NFHS-5). Between 1992 and 2021, the fertility rate of Muslims across the country was 0.74 higher than that of Hindus.
The JD(U)MLC added that citing the logic of high population density for Bihar’s backwardness was also “misleading”. He said: “After all, Kerala has a higher population density than Bihar and yet it has managed to control its fertility rate. There have been two models of population control, one followed by countries like Brazil and China where it failed and the second model is education and awareness, a good system health and ways to reduce poverty. The 10 countries that have shown the way to faster population control include six Muslim-dominated countries like Bangladesh, Kuwait, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Iran.
The JD(U) leader recalled how a vasectomy campaign led by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1976 failed. “It should also be recalled that the Atal Behari Vajpayee government had set up a population control commission which recommended granting benefits to civil servants who have no more than two children. But the NDA government rejected the idea and gave preference to education”.
Reacting to Dr. Jaiswal’s request to incentivize population control, Neeraj Kumar sought to find out why the NDA had stopped giving incentives to the families of those who had no more than two children since 1979.