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Private member’s Bill calls for two-child norm

Topics Covered: Population related issues.

Private member’s Bill calls for two-child norm

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Concerns and issues associated with the proposed two- child policy.

Context: Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member Anil Desai has introduced a Private Member’s Bill in the Rajya Sabha that proposes incentives in taxation, education and employment for people who limit their family size to two children.

Key features of the Bill:

  1. The Bill has sought the incorporation of a new provision, Article 47A in Part IV of the Constitution, to withdraw all concessions from people who fail to adhere to the “small-family” norm.
  2. Essentially, the Bill aims to amend the Constitution in order to incentivise limiting families to two children by offering tax concessions, priority in social benefit schemes and school admissions, among other things.

Why we need a legislation on this?

India’s population has already crossed 125 crore is “really frightening”. It has doubled in the last 40 years and that it is expected to unseat China as the world’s most populous nation in the next couple of decades.

  • Despite the fact that we have framed a National Population Control Policy, we are the second most populous country in the world.
  • Further, the population explosion will cause “many problems” for our future generations.

Criticisms related to two- child policy:

  1. India is a country with a booming technology industry, one that relies on young people. There is fear that, by restricting the number of children that can be born, there will not be enough educated young people in the next generation to carry on India’s technological revolution.
  2. Critics also argue that the population growth of India will slow down naturally as the country grows richer and becomes more educated.
  3. There are already well-documented problems with China’s one-child policy, namely the gender imbalance resulting from a strong preference for boys and millions of undocumented children who were born to parents that already had their one child. These problems risk being replicated in India with the implementation of their two-child policy.
  4. 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. With negative population growth, the number of old people receiving social services is larger than the young tax base that is paying for the social services.
  5. The law related may also be anti-women. Human rights activists argue that, not only does the law discriminate against women right from birth (through abortion or infanticide of female fetuses and babies), but divorce and familial abandonment are at risk of increasing if a man with a large family wants to run for political office.
  6. 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 such women, especially those from lower socio-economic strata, would be forced to go for unsafe abortions because of issues of access and affordability. Besides being inhumane, this is bound to create gender imbalances.

Sources: Indian Express.