Updated: Nov 26, 2022
This Article is written by Shivani Kharai, student of National Law School of India University, Bangalore.
“If we do not voluntarily bring population growth under control in the next one or two decades, nature will do it for us in the most brutal way, whether we like it or not”
Henry W. Kendall
One thing India is well-known for is its population, which is the world's second-largest. And, we all know, India has never been proud of its population. With 240 million people, Uttar Pradesh has 16% of India’s total population and is home to every sixth Indian. For decades, successive governments have tried their hardest to keep the population under control but have failed to do so. Overpopulation has inhibited society's development, and it has become a global issue that cannot be ignored.
With the necessity for population management in mind, the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission presented the first draft of a bill targeted at population control on World Population Day, July 11th. "Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization, and Welfare) Bill, 2021" is the title of the draft. On the day of World Population Day, the new bill was introduced to the public. The claimed objective of this Bill is to limit and stabilize the state's population by following the two-child rule for the purported benefit of Uttar Pradesh's people, ensuring long-term economic prosperity.
However, disincentives or penalties for not adhering to the two-child rule have also been established in the bill.
Let’s get to the detailed analysis.
THE UTTAR PRADESH POPULATION (CONTROL, STABILIZATION, AND WELFARE) BILL, 2021
“A Bill to revitalize efforts and provide for measures to control, stabilize and provide welfare to the population of the State by implementation and promotion of two-child norm and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto.”
The Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission's draft Bill aims to provide basic necessities to human life, such as affordable food, safe drinking water, decent housing, access to quality education, economic/livelihood opportunities, power/electricity for domestic consumption, and so on. It is only applicable to married heterosexual couples in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It primarily promotes the two-child policy and attempts to provide rewards to families who follow it while disqualifying those who do not, therefore this bill includes both incentives and disincentives. The policy will be voluntary, and no one will be forced to follow it.
What exactly the draft bill proposes?
The policy specifies five major objectives:
❖ Population control
❖ Ending preventable maternal deaths and diseases
❖Ending preventable infant death and improving their nutritional status
❖Betterment of sexual and reproductive health knowledge
❖ Facilities for young people; and elder care
What is the two-child policy?
Two child policy is basically the ideal size of a family consisting of a married couple with two children. Couples that have two children, whether a boy or a girl, will benefit from the draft bill's incentives. Also, for couples who have only one child, whether a boy or a girl.
The two-child policy enumerates some key points, including:
❖Any citizen who does not adhere to the two-child limit will be denied employment with the government.
❖Only married couples will be considered when it comes to the two-child policy.
❖Citizens with two children and one child will be eligible for special incentives.
❖Couples who have a second child between January 1, 2021, and January 1, 2023, will not be considered in violation of the legislation.
❖The measure takes into account the adoption of a second child. As a result, if parents desire, they can adopt a third child.
❖Couples with only two children will receive basic job promotions and rewards from various schemes.
❖ Following demographic standards, special increments have also been specified for all such parents.
❖Rationing services will get suspended for all such individuals who are detected breaking the bill's provisions.
❖All candidates with more than two children will lose their election rights or their ability to get elected under the Local Body Elections.
❖Subsidies for parents with more than two children will be halted in all cases.
Benefits conferred under the bill:
The bill includes a number of incentives to encourage people to stick to the two-child policy:
❖ Following the bill's requirements, parents will be provided two specials on service increments.
❖ If a married couple with a single child voluntarily undergoes sterilization, will be eligible for perks such as priority admission to higher education institutions and government jobs, as well as other benefits as determined by the appropriate government.
❖ If a married couple with a single child who lives below the poverty line voluntarily undergoes sterilization, they will be eligible for a one-time lump sum payment of sixty thousand rupees from the Central Government, in addition to the benefits conferred under Section 6.
❖ Such a population control policy adds value to taxpayers’ money, which is frequently distributed inequitably.
The following incentive will be granted to public personnel under the supervision of the State Government who adopt the two-child standard by undergoing voluntary sterilization on himself or his spouse:
❖ During the entire service, there will be two extra increments.
❖ Subsidy from the Housing Board or Development Authority for the purchase of a plot, house site, or built house, as prescribed.
❖ Soft loan for the construction or purchase of a home at nominal interest rates, as prescribed.
❖ Rebate on payments for utilities such as water, electricity, and water, as well as house taxes, if applicable.
❖ Maternity or paternity leave for a period of 12 months, with full pay and benefits.
❖ 3% increase in the employer contribution fund under the national pension system.
❖ The spouse receives free health care and insurance coverage.
A couple living in poverty with only one child who voluntarily undergoes sterilization on oneself or spouse will be eligible for a one-time lump-sum payment from the government of Rs 80,000 thousand if the single child is a boy and rupees one lakh if the lone child is a girl.
If the draft bill becomes law, it will contribute to society's growth and progress.
❖Opportunities: The Uttar Pradesh government has promised promotions, increments, housing concessions, and other benefits to public servants who follow the policy and have two or fewer children. They will receive two additional increments over the course of their service, a 12-month maternity or paternity leave, full salary and allowances, and a 3% increase in the employer's contribution fund under the policy. So, there are opportunities if this bill becomes an act.
❖Health: Excessive population expansion has resulted in difficulties such as urban overcrowding and environmental changes, which have led to the creation of numerous infectious diseases. With fewer people, resources will reach a disproportionately larger number of people in the State, resulting in a happier and healthier society.
❖Environment: If less population will be there, there will be less pollution as well resulting in a cleaner environment as the Right to a healthy environment has been as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
“No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”
And where there is a right, there comes a duty as Article 51A(g) envisages the fundamental duty of the State to protect and improve the natural environment.
Due to increased population, the number of resources, including plants and animals due to consumption, will be depleted, resulting in increased exposure to air pollution, infections, and a reduction in the availability to clean water.
The consequences of a rapid population expansion are both destructive to people and the environment, which is why population control need immediate attention today. The implications of population growth are numerous like income inequalities, the strain on the natural resources, increase in demand thereby raising the price of the commodities, etc. Poverty and illiteracy are important determinants of population growth. Talking about UP, its total fertility rate is 2.7 percent currently whereas it should ideally be less than 2.1 percent. Most states have achieved this, with the exception of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The constitution includes Concurrent List (List III) as Entry 20A under the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which means that both the Centre and the States can enact population control legislation. The Population control Bill, 2021 proposed by the State Government aims to reduce the state’s fertility rate to 2.1 per thousand population by 2026 and 1.9 by 2030. Uttar Pradesh’s current fertility rate is 2.7 per thousand population. It is proposed to aid in the improvement of the state's overall welfare, which would contribute to long-term economic prosperity.
According to the proposed population policy, attempts will be made to contraceptive measures offered under the Family Planning Programme more accessible and improve health facilities which will help to create a proper system for safe abortion. In addition, the efforts stated by the government also include; stabilizing the population by making impotence/infertility treatments more available and lowering the newborn and maternal death rates. One of the important points in the new policy is to make complete arrangements for the care of the elderly, other than the better management of education, health, and nutrition of teenagers between 11 to 19 years.
The draft bill is a reasonable idea and a viable option for lowering an out-of-control population.
The population is a barrier to society's growth, and it is critical that people must understand the ways and the necessity to control it. Poverty leads to a lack of education, which leads to a lack of awareness, which leads to a lack of understanding about contraceptive techniques, which leads to an increase in population and a scarcity of resources, and so on. It is also the authorities' responsibility to develop laws for the good of society, and it is also the responsibility of the people to make laws workable by adhering to the requirements of an Act.