[Editorial Analysis] Road to demographic distress

Mains Paper 1: Society
Prelims level: Draft UP Population bill 2021
Mains level: Issues related to the Population Growth


• Recently the UP Law Commission released the draft UP Population (Control, Stabilization and Welfare) Bill 2021 and also UP state govt unveiled a new population policy.

• The overall objective of the proposed law is the welfare of the people of the state by promoting the two-child norm.

• Similarly, Assam has embarked new Population policy that is meant to help the development of the minority community in Assam.

• All population control laws including UPs start with a noble objective before it starts listing the incentive and disincentives.

• However, for a long time in India, the carrot and stick approach to population control has been in vogue.

Need for Population Control laws:

• Since 1968, the idea of a population explosion has been something many policy-makers have been afraid of.

• Many expert’s predictions of the 1960s about the huge impacts of population explosion on India has failed because the success of the Green Revolution made India self-sufficient in food grains and prevented famines.

• However, the fear of overpopulation was primarily due to poverty and its associated impacts.

• The exploding population notion is deeply ingrained in society and the idea of restricting couples from having more children keeps cropping up as a policy solution.

• It seems logical that the population will stop growing if all couples have fewer children.

• In India, the Successive NFHS rounds indicated that family size has declined considerably across the states even in UP.

• However, the population is still growing despite a decline in the fertility rate.

• The reason for it unlike in the past, population growth is not due to couples having more children but because India has many more young couples today.

Counters to Population Control Bills:

• The argument that controlling population will increase the natural resource base is also faulty because:

• It is more important to review consumption pattern because rich consume more natural resources and contributes more GHGs emissions than the poor.

• While these control laws aim to target the poor.

• The draft bill that aims to regulate the whole ambit of govt benefits through the two-child norm have made two miscalculations in implementing the law.

• Primarily, the draft proposes to use sterilization operations, tubectomy, or vasectomy.

• With an over-emphasis on sterilization certificates as the only way to ensure access to the govt benefits, it will lead to people having children in quick succession.

• It ultimately results in UP facing the contradiction of low fertility and high birth rates and an overall higher population in the short run.

• The discrimination of age where to qualify as the third child, it will have to be born one year after the notification of the law.

• Where all those couples with 3 or more children who have completed their reproductive lives will not fall under the ambit of the law.

• The law specifically discriminates and targets the youth.

Way ahead:

• UP have a huge young population and a poor population. The draft law that potentially targets both sections from excluding them in availing govt initiatives will not only be unnecessary and harmful but can potentially lead to political and demographic disaster.


Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), consider the following statements:

1. It is a part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) under the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India.

2. National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) is located in Delhi.

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: A

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