Population control in UP: Creating awareness is the best bet to achieve goal - The Tribune India

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Population control in UP

Creating awareness is the best bet to achieve goal

Population control in UP

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. File photo

The assurance by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh led by Yogi Adityanath that population control measures will not be aimed at any class or section is welcome, provided there is transparency in its implementation. With an estimated population of over 24 crore, UP is the most populous state of India with its accompanying developmental hazards which act as an impediment to growth. Industrial growth in the state is among the slowest in the country, resulting in high unemployment and migration of workforce. The huge population has also impacted health parameters — UP’s infant mortality rate is among the highest in India. With about one-fifth of the country’s child population, UP also faces the challenge of tackling absenteeism and low enrolment in schools. The return of migrant workers in large numbers has put the onus on the state government to provide them with benefits, besides making immunisation a long-drawn process.

With Uttar Pradesh headed for the Assembly polls next year, the BJP government in the state is merely trying to fulfil the promises that it had made in its 2017 election manifesto. The manifesto had promised to accelerate development and the draft Bill released to mark World Population Day is a step in that direction. Objections to the policy have been invited and the provision to incentivise couples who do not have more than two children, while good in intent, is bound to give rise to fears of discrimination among others.

Reassuringly, CM Yogi has stressed on creating awareness and not coercion to bring in population stabilisation. The use of force could well be reminiscent of the forced sterilisation campaigns carried out during the Emergency. A country like China has relaxed its two-child policy, allowing couples to have three children to address the country’s long-term demographic imbalance, ageing society and reduced working age population. UP’s concerns on these counts may be justified but the policy should not be directed at any particular section of society. Social cohesion is also a prerequisite for all-round progress.  

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