Bangladesh population

Remove penalty clauses from population control bill: BJP MP

The Rajya Sabha on Friday discussed a private bill on population regulation proposed by Rakesh Sinha of the Bharatiya Janata party.

During the discussion, another BJP member, Vikas Mahatme, called for the removal of the penal clauses from the bill saying that if a family were penalized for more than two children, the third child would develop the feeling that “he is an unwanted child. “It is a very dangerous thought for the nation. Therefore, I say we can do something else instead of penalizing,” he said. Mr Mahatme said that although he supported the project of law, he felt it could encourage “sex selection” and would lead to female feticide.

Mahatme said efforts should be made to achieve population control in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision.

The bill revitalizes efforts to promote lower family standards of up to two children per couple. It also proposes to ensure healthy birth spacing through measures to increase the availability, accessibility and affordability of quality reproductive health services.

“Limited resources”

While proposing the bill, Mr Sinha said that India has land availability of only 1.2 hectares per person while self-regenerating resources are only 0.43. “The ecological footprint that we use and the gap between their regeneration is 187%. We are an ecological debtor,” he said, adding that if this continued for 30 years, resources would be depleted and people would not be able to lead dignified lives.

“But in India, whenever population control is discussed, it’s always driven from the community angle,” Sinha said. Some people see a demographic dividend in the growing population, but it was used as cheap labor around the world, he said.

“People are being misled in the name of the demographic dividend. Many countries need cheap labour, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, so they are trying to mislead and fuel the rhetoric about the demographic dividend. They talk about replacement level. According to the synthetic fertility index figures, the national average is maintained in 174 districts, while the TFR is 4 in 72 districts. The people attacking us in the name of saffron demographics don’t want the truth to come out,” he said.

He added that the marital fertility rate in Bihar was above 6%, while the overall rate in India is 4.9%. “In Andhra Pradesh, MFR is 3.4%, Kerala 5.1%, Tamil Nadu 3.7%, Telangana 3.6%. The average is always delusional. A hover will have to support the weight of 12 people, although the average will rise to 6 if I have 11 children and for example Manoj Jha ji has one child… There is a provision in this bill that after the promulgation of this law, it will not be implemented before 18 months. Awareness should be spread among people during this time,” Sinha said.

Congressman Ami Yagnik questioned the motive behind the bill’s introduction. “While we should be talking about human development and human rights, a bill has been tabled on population regulation. What will happen if people start choosing sex? This is a misplaced bill, it should not be entertained,” she said.

IUML’s Abdul Wahab said China offers incentives to have more children.

Congressman L. Hanumanthaiah said, “This kind of propaganda should stop. We must break the myth that a particular community is responsible for the increase in population.

Fauzia Khan of the NCP said the bill was an attempt to systematically alter India’s social fabric. “The biggest victim of this bill would be women, regardless of their religion,” she said.

RJD member Manoj Jha said that in 2020 the Indian government told the Supreme Court that coercion was undesirable. “Demography is serious business and should be left to demographers, not politicians. This will lead to female feticide. Women would bear the brunt of the two-child standard,” Mr Jha said.