All states going to the polls in 2022 are gradually slipping into election mode. A chief minister is changed in Uttarakhand, another one is battling infighting in Punjab and the one in Uttar Pradesh has just managed to quell the disquiet against him recently; even the cabinet reshuffle exercise at the Centre was aimed at strengthening the position of the ruling political party in these states. Now a proposal is under draft in Uttar Pradesh to bring in a two-child policy which could prove a masterstroke in state politics ahead of the elections.
According to media reports, the proposals have been mentioned under the draft titled ‘The Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization and Welfare) Bill, 2021’. Those violating the two-child policy will be excluded from participation in local bodies polls, govt jobs applications and promotions and the benefits of govt subsidy, which includes limiting the ration card units to four.
The Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission released the first draft of the bill seeking public suggestions till July 19 to improve it.
Benefits of adhering to two-child policy in UP
As per the draft bill, media reports say, the public servants adhering to the two-child policy will get two additional increments during their service, apart from the 12-month maternity or paternity leave with full salary and allowances, and a three per cent increase in the Employee Provident Fund under the national pension scheme, while those with a single child will get four additional increments, free healthcare and education for their child till the age of 20.
The draft bill proposes to provide rebates on water and electricity bills, house tax and home loans, etc, for those who are not in the govt services.
The bill also seeks to control the state population by promoting and incentivising measures like vasectomy and sterilisation. According to the legal news website live law, the government has proposed to provide compulsory insurance to cover cases of failure of tubectomy or vasectomy. If a couple with only one child living below the poverty line undergoes voluntary sterilization upon himself or spouse, they shall be eligible for a one-time lump-sum amount of Rs 80,000 in case the single child is a boy, and Rs 1 lakh if the single child is a girl.
Political slugfest looms over proposed two-child policy in UP
Notably, the population draft bill has been released ahead of a new population policy announcement for 2021-2030 which the Yogi Adityanath government is scheduled to make on World Population day (11 July 2021) to provide incentives to people for their active contribution to population control, the crying need of the world today.
Now it remains to be seen how the move proposed by the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh govt plays out politically in the poll-bound state. Essentially, India so far doesn’t have a two-child policy, even though several states have some rules and laws in place to debar people from contesting in local body elections and impose penalties on people with more than two children.
However, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, as recently as in 2020, had declared that a two-child policy would be one of the organization’s primary goals for the country.
UP takes a cue from Assam on population control ‘bill’
The UP govt seems to have taken a cue from the Assam govt which announced last month its intention regarding a gradual implementation of a two-child policy in the state and is expected to bring the new legislation to this effect in the state Budget session starting July 12.
In Uttar Pradesh, the draft bill is likely to ruffle the feathers of the opposition parties as the critics of the two-child policy have been labelling it as a tool to discriminate against Muslims. In that scenario, the political slugfest over the proposed population bill may benefit the BJP consolidating its Hindu votes in the state.