[Editorial Analysis] An unproductive idea

Mains Paper 1: Society
Prelims level: UP population control bill
Mains level: Issues of Population

Context:

• The measures to control population growth announced by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday include both incentives and penalties.

• These measures are aimed at lowering U.P.’s total fertility rate (TFR), which was 2.7 in 2016, according to the National Family Health Survey-4, which is only slightly lower than Bihar’s (3.1 as of 2020 in NFHS-5).

• On the surface, the goals in this direction — increasing the rate of modern contraceptive prevalence, male contraception, and significantly lowering maternal and infant mortality rates by 2026 — appear to be in line with what was stressed at the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development.

What’s the issue?

• To address what is both a socio-economic and a demographic issue, the government appears to have gone down the well-worn path of a mix of incentives and penalties.

• The government aims to incentivize one-child families and reward those with two children with perks in government schemes, tax and loan rebates, and cash awards if family planning is done, among other perks, in a draught Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Bill, 2021.

• Subsidies and welfare benefits are denied to those with more than two children, as well as the ability to apply for government jobs and vote in local elections.

Incentive – Disincentice approach :

• The National Human Rights Commission has previously condemned the incentives/disincentives strategy, citing Haryana, undivided Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha as examples of states that implemented such policies in the 1990s and 2000s.

• In 2003, the Supreme Court upheld a Haryana government legislation prohibiting people with more than two children from running for local government elections, although the legality of the measures restricting people’s ability to make informed decisions remained in doubt.

• Empirical studies of coercive measures have shown that they discriminate against marginalised people in particular and have no discernible effect on population control, whereas more substantive poverty reduction schemes and economic reforms have increased labour productivity and employment opportunities, empowered women, and reduced fertility rates as rational choices.

Conclusion :

• Rather of pursuing neo-Malthusian techniques to population control, states should address the socio-economic concerns affecting India’s primarily youthful demography to speed the decrease to replacement levels of fertility.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Delhi Skill and Entrepreneurship University, consider the following statements:

1. Industry partnerships are an integral part of the university’s curriculum.

2. In every course in the third year, there is an entrepreneurship orientation course.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

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