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POPULATION CONTROL: A MIXED BLESSING

INTRODUCTION

We all have witnessed huge crowds while travelling to different places, whether it is a railway station, a bus stop, or any place of religious gathering. We can always find such places overcrowded at any time of the day. This is a very significant sign of overpopulation in the country, whether you look into shopping malls or hospitals. Every corner of the country is looming with overpopulation. According to recently published data from the United, Nation India will outlast china becoming the most populous country in the world by 2023. Furthermore, India will continue to increase the gap by having 1.412 billion people by the end of 2022, compared to China’s estimate of 1.426 billion by the year 2050. Moreover, it has also been mentioned in the data that China’s population will contract to 1.317 billion while the Indian population will rise to 1.668 billion.[1] The population of a country can be used for development and nation-building if provided with the right skills and expertise, but it can’t be ignored that excess population can cause serious damage to a country’s resources and can be detrimental to its overall growth. So let us further discuss whether population control is needed in India or not 

WHY POPULATION CONTROL IS BECOMING A NEED OF THE HOUR?

Population growth has a direct impact on the lifestyle of people as it affects the per capita income of a country. In a developing country like India, if the population continues to grow at the present rate, then soon there will be a huge swarm of hungry and unemployed people which will be catastrophic for the social and political climate of the country. Even in the current scenario, the population is greater than the sustainable rate of the country, which will mostly affect the economy of the nation. Due to the increasing numbers, the market will get flooded with an unskilled workforce which will reduce their wages. Furthermore, fewer jobs available for a huge workforce will give rise to phenomena like disguised employment gradually affecting the GDP of the country because more people will be employed in areas where work can be done with fewer employees. Another crucial area that will be affected by the rapidly increasing population growth is the environment. As long as the population is rising, the requirement for places will be needed, which will lead to extensive deforestation. Apart from this, the current pollution rates are also very high due to which climate change is lurking around our doorstep. So all the above-discussed factors make it essential to regulate population growth in our country, with the scarcity of resources and a huge population to feed the upcoming future can be detrimental and uncertain.

POPULATION CONTROL MEASURES

During this current environment of our country the situation has already arrived where there is a dire need for population control legislation for a long period we have ignored the already depleting resources and since the population has been increasing day by day, it can be our biggest mistake, without proper law and order to tackle mismanagement created by overpopulation can be a very difficult situation for our country so while observing the current situation it becomes crucial to implement a population control law but it should be kept in mind that such law should be in the interest of the public and it should be implemented in such a way that the public can easily understand it benefits some of the recent population control measures introduced in India during these past few years are explained below.

POPULATION CONTROL BILL 2019

The population control bill was introduced in the parliament in July 2019[2], the proposed bill was put forward by MP Rakesh Sinha which called for coercive action against those having more than two children the bill was signed by 125 members of parliament and currently is still pending for implementation, the bill also mentions that people with more than two children will be given fewer government benefits which include money and the other limited incentives provided under the public distribution system and this restriction will apply even to the backward socio-economic elements.[3] The bill further proposes that people having more than two children will also be barred from elections to public office, so now the government employees will have to settle down to having no more than two children.

CRITICISM

The proposed bill will have many constitutional fallacies. First, it will impact divorce among Muslims as it does not recognize the case of divorced citizens and also violates Muslim personal laws.[4]Consider a divorced woman having children with her previous partner now with the implementation of a such bill. She will be unable to bear more children with her present partner. The current population control bill is not an effective tool for family planning as women are considered the head of family planning and implementation of such a law will only force them to opt for unsafe methods of abortion which will jeopardize their health further it can be observed in China’s one-child policy which created a gender imbalance in the country as sex-selective abortions led to a decrease in the young workforce with a rising ageing population, so as result china repealed its one-child policy it with two child policy in 2016.

UTTAR PRADESH POPULATION (CONTROL, STABILIZATION, AND WELFARE)BILL2021

Uttar Pradesh is considered one of the largest states in the country with 240 million people and it constitutes about 16% of India’s population If it were a separate country then it will rank as the sixth largest country in the world[5] outlasted by China, India, U.S, and Indonesia, so to tackle the growing population in the state a new draft bill on population control has been introduced by the law commission of Uttar Pradesh on July 7, 2021. The purpose of the bill is to lower the fertility rate to 2.1 per thousand by 2026 and 1.9 by 2030 from the current existing fertility rate of 2.7.[6]  The bill aims at promoting two-child norms calling for coercive action against those having more than two children and also debarring them from contesting local bodies’ elections. Furthermore, the bill also seeks to restrict access to government promotions for such people, while it promises to give incentives and subsidies to those restricting their children to two or fewer.

CRITICISM

The controversial first draft of the controversial Uttar Pradesh population (control, stabilization, and welfare) Bill 2021 calls for stringent measures for regulating the population in the state.[7] However, it is appreciable that the bill has been put up for feedback in public, still, it will have catastrophic consequences in the state, the law will increase gender-based discrimination leading to a more narrowed sex ratio with high malnutrition and Increased unsafe abortions. The current bill is a bad answer for a typical situation like overpopulation as it will only deprive the most backward and vulnerable groups of benefits like subsidies and public distribution schemes, as they are the ones most dependent upon these incentives. 

WAY AHEAD AND CONCLUSION

There is no denying that population growth is the number one obstacle to development and we cannot take it with folded arms. It is the inescapable duty of our politicians and legislators to ensure that the population is controlled, at least to some extent, and everything must be done now to ensure this. If the population is not controlled even now, surely our country can never be free from hunger or poverty or free from other problems like population growth, which is the root of all these problems our nation is also struggling with! Therefore, it does not deserve to be repeated that population control must be one of the top priorities of government both in the centre and in the states. It can no longer be kept in the background. Ultimately, however, the basis of the entire discussion is the urgent need for population control measures in our country to improve India’s overall economic performance, but more importantly to improve India’s internal conditions and ensure a better life for the citizens.

Author(s) Name: Adnan Ahmad  (Integral University Lucknow)

References:

[1]Indivjal Dhasmana, “ India to overtake China as world’s most populated country in 2023”  (Business standard July 12, 2022) <https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/india> accessed 20 August 2022

[2]Neetu Chandra Sharma, “Can proposed population Regulation Bill 2019 solve India’s population growth crisis” (Livemint July 15, 2019)  <https://www.livemint.com/news/india/can-proposed-population-regulation-bill-2019>

Accessed 21 July 2022

[3]Nayantara Sheoran, “Why the 2019 population Regulation has dangerous consequence for India” ( Science The Wire July 18, 2019). <https://science.thewire.in/health/india-2019->accessed 20 Aug 2022

[4]Sumanta Roy, “A False Alarm” (The Telegraph Dec 16,2021)<https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/proposed-population-control-bill-would-have-constitutional-repercussions/cid/1843455> accessed 21 Aug 2022

[5]TNN, “Time Face-off: Do we need population control measures?” (The Times of India July 23, 2021)

<https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/times-face-off-do-we-need-population-control> accessed 23 Aug 2022

[6]Animesh Upadhyay &Sushant pratap, “ Uttar Pradesh population Bill 2021 An analysis” (The Daily Guardian July 31 ,, 021)<https://thedailyguardian.com/uttar-pradesh-population-bill-2021>accessed 24 Aug 2022

[7]Sanjica kumar & Vedica Nigam, “Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization and Welfare) Bill, 2021: A Critical Analysis” (JuristSep 1,2021 ) <https://www.jurist.org/commentary/2021/09/kumar-nigam-analysis-uttar-pradesh-population-bill-2021/> accessed 24 Aug 2022