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Science & Technology
- GS 2 || Governance & Social Justice || Human Development || Population
Why in news?
- The Uttar Pradesh government announced a new population bill known as the Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization, and Welfare) Bill, 2021 on World Population Day(11 July).
Constitutional Provision of Population control and family planning
- Entry 20-A in List III (Concurrent List) of the 7th Schedule deals with population control and family planning. This provision was added through the 42nd Constitutional Amendment 1976.
- The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, headed by N. Venkatachaliah had also recommended in 2002, that Article 47A be inserted into the Constitution to control population explosion.
- Population control comes under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, with family planning services provided through the free health delivery system.
- As of 1986, the family planning establishment had grown to gigantic proportions, employing half a million people in family planning and health services.
Key takeaways of the bill
- As stated in the Family Planning Programme, focus on increasing access to contraceptive measures. The bill also aims to provide a safe abortion system.
- Lower the rate of maternal and newborn mortality.
- Make population control a required subject in all secondary schools.
- Improved management of adolescent health, nutrition, and education, as well as care for the elderly.
- Government employees who meet the two-child requirement under the bill will receive two additional increments throughout their employment, a 12-month maternity or paternity leave, full salary and allowances, and a 3% increase in the Employer’s Contribution Fund (EPF) under the National Pension Scheme.
- Non-government employees who help to reduce the population threat will be eligible for tax breaks on housing, water, and home loans, among other things.
- If a child’s parent has a vasectomy, he or she will be provided with free medical care until the age of 20.
- Create a state population fund to implement the bill’s provisions.
Need for Two-Child Policy Norm
- India’s population has already crossed 125 crores and India is expected to surpass the world’s most populous nation-China in the next couple of decades.
- According to the United Nations population projections, India’s population will increase by a multiple of 1.09 between 2021 and 2031.
- From 2060 onwards, India’s population will start falling, which happens when the fertility rate falls below replacement levels.
- The world’s population is approximately 7.7 billion, and it is expected to increase to approximately 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 10.9 billion in 2100.
- India was one of the first countries in the world to initiate a family planning programme, in 1952, aimed at lowering fertility and slowing the population growth rate.
- India’s National Family Planning Programme aims to reduce India’s overall fertility rate to 2.1 by 2025.
Issues with the large population
- Impact on various spheres
- They have an impact on economic development, employment, income distribution, poverty, and social protections.
- They also have an impact on efforts to provide universal access to health care, education, housing, sanitation, water, food, and energy.
- Education and Population Growth
- Poverty and illiteracy contribute significantly to population growth.
- According to recent data, the country’s overall literacy rate is around 77.7 percent
- Male literacy is higher across India, at 84.7 percent, compared to 70.3 percent for women.
- Children in rural areas are regarded as assets because they will care for their parents in their old age; additionally, having more children means having more earnings.
- The level of female education has a direct impact on fertility, as it is evidenced that the fertility rate of illiterate women tends to be higher than those who are literate.
- Women are unable to fully understand the use of contraception and the consequences of frequent childbirth due to a lack of education.
- India’s high youth unemployment is transforming the demographic dividend into a demographic disaster.
- This youth potential is often referred to as the ‘demographic dividend,’ which means that if the youth available in the country are provided with quality education and skills training, they will not only be able to find suitable employment but will also be able to contribute effectively to the country’s economic development.
- Governments in Assam and Uttar Pradesh have proposed laws to enforce two–child policies in their respective states. Both states intend to prohibit people with more than two children from availing of government benefits and positions.
- Presently, six states including Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh have made the two-child norm mandatory for all panchayat members.
- In 2018, 412 panchayat members in Rajasthan had been removed from their posts because they failed to comply with the two-child norm.
- The Supreme Court has upheld the provision in several states that debars members with more than two children from contesting and holding panchayat posts.
Significance of such bill
- Overpopulation exerts strain on resources
- The Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization, and Welfare) Bill, 2021, was drafted with the urgent need in mind, given the state’s growing population, to ensure that all citizens have access to necessities such as safe drinking water, affordable food, access to quality education, decent housing, power or electricity for domestic consumption, economic or livelihood opportunities, and so on.
- Limited resources available
- There are limited ecological and economic resources at hand and so should be utilized sustainably.
- Reproductive health a priority
- As per the government’s stand, It is necessary to ensure healthy birth spacing through measures related to augmenting the availability, accessibility, and affordability of quality reproductive health services for achieving the goal of population control, stabilization, and its subsequent welfare in the state.
Criticism of the Two-Child Policy
- Shortage of human capital
- India’s birth rate is slowing down to sustainable levels.
- It can create a shortage of educated young people needed to carry on India’s technological revolution.
- China as an example
- The problems like gender imbalance, undocumented children, etc. faced by China (as a result of the one-child policy) might be experienced by India.
- Reduction in TFR
- In 2000, the fertility rate was still relatively high at 3.2 children per woman. By 2016, that number had already fallen to 2.3 children.
- It is an argument that the population growth of India will slow down naturally as the country grows richer and becomes more educated.
- Women health at risk
- Experts have advised caution against any population policy that puts women’s health and well-being at risk.
- Sterilization at risk
- Given that the burden of contraception and family planning disproportionately falls on women, it is likely that female sterilization will increase further.
- Increase in illegal practices
- Stringent population control measures can potentially lead to an increase in these practices and unsafe abortions given the strong son-preference in India, as has been witnessed in a few states in the past.
- Family planning is an effective tool for ensuring a steady increase in population. The government at all levels—Union, State, and Local—as well as citizens, civil societies, and businesses—must take the lead in raising awareness of and advocating for women’s sexual and reproductive rights, as well as encouraging the use of contraception.
- There is a need for well-researched planning and implementation on how to maximize the economic benefit of population growth for society and the country.
- Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to poverty, gender equality, and economic growth, among other things, is critical to ensuring a better future for all on a healthy planet.
Mains model question
- Do you think the insistence on the two-child norm for government jobs is a fair stand-in for investments in health, education, nutrition? Critically analyze in the light of such policies adopted by some of the Indian state governments.