India was one of the first countries to launch official family planning
scheme in 1952 at the time of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. And it is the second most
populated country in India. Its population increased from 361 million in 1951 to
1210 million in 2011 (around 3.5 times). Isn't it an irony?
In 1974, during the time of Sanjay Gandhi time, the government launched
sterilisation program. It was a kind of forceful sterilisation which government
tried to do at that time and millions of poor men were sterilized. 6.2 million
people were sterilized just in a year.
Then in 1992 at the time of P. V. Narasimha Rao, 79th Constitutional Amendment
Bill was brought in Rajya Sabha and it also talked to two child policy. It
wasn't discussed as the then health minister Makhan Lal Fotedar resigned. It
talked of two child norms all Govt. employees, MP, MLA.
Till now more than 35 private member bills have been introduced in the
parliament from independence for the object of pollution control.
In the present condition also many states are having two child norm. In
Rajasthan, for government jobs, candidates who have more than two children are
not eligible for appointment. Few years back, two additional district judges of
Madhya Pradesh were terminated from their job for violation of two child norm.
Later they went to High Court and they were reinstated only because there was no
option to fill details of number of child in earlier form and HC held that their
application should have cancelled at that time.
Overview of Population Control Bill, 2019
Population Control Bill, 2019 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha as private
members Bill by Member of Parliament Sri Rakesh Sinha.
The object of the act states the goal of stabilization of population
commensurate with the emerging social, economic, health, nutritional,
epidemiological, environmental and other developmental needs of the national
economy, to recognize the implications of population momentum on the prospects
of national progress in the long run and providing equal opportunities of all
irrespective of their caste, creed etc. and to achieve development potential to
Section 3 of the act states that the provisions of the present Act are in order
to the achieve the polices laid down in Article 39 (1) and (2) of the Indian
Section 4 of the act provides for comprehensive Revision in National Population
Policy especially for the purpose of implementing two child norm. It further
provides that without causing damage to the Revision as provided in 4(1),
central government should make provisions for improvement of reproductive health
care services, strengthen education system, drinking, housing, sanitation and
livelihood opportunities (particularly for women).
Section 5 of the act provides for benefits to an employee under Central
Government or Public Sector enterprise under Central Government. The incentives
provided are one additional increment during the period of service, subsidy in
purchasing land plot, house site or built house, loans at a nominal interest
rate for purchasing land plot, house site or built house, rebate on income tax,
subsidy for travel, rebate on utilities like water, electricity, telephone,
vehicle registration etc. and any further benefits so prescribed.
It further talks of providing paid paternity leaves up to 12 weeks, free health
care facilities and insurance to parents, free healthcare to single child up to
25 years of age, preference in admission in all educational institution. For a
single girl child, it talks of free education up to graduation and scholarships
for further education.
Section 7 talks of disadvantages of person violating the two child norm. It
provides for reduction in subsidies, reduced benefits of PDS, higher rate of
interest for taking loan, lower interest on saving and investments and not be
entitled for any further benefits so prescribed.
Section 8 provides that no maternity or paternity benefits provided to persons
having more than two child but they undergo sterilisation after the birth of
third child, he/ she will be entitled for maternity or paternity benefits
Section 9 provides that a person will be disqualified as candidate in election
of MP/ MLA/ any other local body if he has more than two child after the
commencement of the Act. If further provides for an undertaking to be submitted
by employee of central government that he will not have more than two children.
Section 11 talks of various provisions for the purpose of implementing two child
norm like distribute contraceptive pills, condoms, IUDs through Healthcare
Centres and Non-Governmental Organizations, spread awareness about family
planning methods through community health workers such as auxiliary nurse
midwife or accredited social health activist etc.
Need of Two Child Norm
Then during 1980s, "Hum Do Hamare Do
" (We Two Ours Two) was popularized through
mass campaign. Population of India has increased from 361 million in 1951 to
1210 million in 2011. It is a growing concern. Resource and the total land area
of the country are limited and the population is increasing at a rapid rate. We
are the second most populated country in the world. It also causes a big problem
for providing benefits and subsidies by the government.
The population of India is growing and will continue to grow for the next couple
of decades. The reason for the fact is the higher proportion of people in the
marriageable age group who will produce children. Population explosion will
cause many problems for our future generations. Natural resources like air,
water, land woods etc. are subjected to over exploitation because of over
population. Today, there is a greater need to keep a strong check on the
increase of our population.
Criticism of Two Child Norm
There are many social consequences associated with two child norm. Few of them
are as follows:
A legal restriction to two children could force couples
to go for sex-selective abortions as there are only two ‘attempts'.
A significant proportion of rural women especially those from
lower socio-economic strata, would be forced to go for unsafe abortions because
of issues of access and affordability.
Enforcement of such policies will create gender imbalances
and also can create mental subordination towards women.
Negative Population Growth:
By interfering with the birth rate, India faces a
future with severe negative population growth, a serious problem that most
developed countries are trying to reverse.
- Prasoon Shekhar, student at The ICFAI University, Dehradun and
- Shwetank Singh, student at The ICFAI University, Dehradun.