Less than a year before India's most populous state – Uttar Pradesh – is headed off to the state Assembly elections, the Yogi Adityanath government seems to be trying to focus on population control measures.
On 9 July, the state government released a draft of the proposed Population (control, sterilisation & welfare) Bill 2021 for public comments and suggestions till 19 July. Essentially what the draft proposal aims to do is make a two-child policy mandatory for those who wish to avail government benefits.
The draft policy includes both incentives and disincentives to that purpose.
Government employees who have two or less children or those who go for voluntary sterilisation, will get benefits like government subsidies on electricity and water, two extra increments in the course of service, and maternity/paternity leave for 12 months with full salary and allowances.
But violators will be barred from contesting in local body polls, or from government jobs and promotions among other things.
Given India's soaring population, discussions on population control are anything but uncommon, however the UP government's move is drawing a lot of flak on two fronts.
While a lot of experts maintain that coercive measures do more harm than good and can lead to a distorted demography, the Opposition believe that the UP government's move is politically motivated given the impending state elections.
So, how should we look at UP's population draft bill? Can it achieve the goals that it intends to? And, where are the suspicions of this being a politically inspired move coming from? Tune in!
Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Shailaja Chandra,Former Secretary in the Ministry of Health, First Executive Director of Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh
Pavan K Varma, former IFS officer, Former Rajya Sabha MP, Former served adviser to the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar
Editor: Shelly Walia
Music: Big Bang Fuzz
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