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On the occasion of World Population Day, Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, launched the State's Population Policy for 2021-2030 by saying that all sections of society must join in this awareness programme, targeting areas having high fertility rate, to spread the information on population control. The minister has said that the increasing population is the root cause of major problems prevailing in a society, which can be an obstacle in its development. Hence, the policy is drafted in a way that it is equal for all people and avoids inequality in any form.
The new policy aims at:
- Decreasing the Total Fertility Rate from 2.7 to 2.1 by 2026 and to 1.7 by 2030.
- Decreasing Maternal Mortality Rate from 197 to 150 to 98 and Infant Mortality Rate from 43 to 32 to 22 and Under 5 Infant Mortality Rate from 47 to 35 to 25.
- Increasing Modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate from 31.7 to 45 by 2026 and to 52 by 2030.
- Increasing male methods of contraception use from 10.8 to 15.1 by 2026 and to 16.4 by 2030.
- Rising the life expectancy from 64.3 to 69 by 2030.
- Improving child sex ratio (0-6 years) from 899 to 919 by 2031.
The draft of the policy is formulated in a way that maintains a balance of population among the various communities. It also asks the state government to introduce population control as a compulsory subject in all secondary schools.
The Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission’s proposed draft bill for population control promotes the implementation of the two-child norm. The Government aims to incentivize one-child families and reward those with two children with perks in government schemes, rebates in taxes and loans, and cash awards. Public servants who adopt this norm will get two additional increments during the entire service, maternity or paternity leave of 12 months, with full salary and allowances and a 3 % increase in the employer’s contribution fund under the National Pension Scheme. Anyone who does not follow the policy will be barred from contesting elections to the local authority or anybody of the local self-government, and ration card units would be limited to four. The backdrop of this policy is that any person violating the law would also become ineligible to apply for government jobs under the State government, will be barred from promotion in government services and will be denied welfare benefits and subsidies. These provisions will come into action one year after the date of publication of the gazette.
The bill focuses on the contraceptive measures issued under the Family Planning Programme and to provide a proper system for safe abortion. The Uttar Pradesh government plans to set up a state population fund to implement the measures.
The cons of this policy include putting women’s health at risk by a likely increase in female sterilization. There could also be increased chances of unsafe abortions. Discrimination amongst various societies is likely to happen. The marginalized societies may not be able to receive all the incentives as mentioned.
Though there is an urgent need to take up measures that would prevent overpopulation, the concerns issued by experts need to be taken care of.
This article has been written by Sharon John for The Paradigm
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