We will gradually incorporate a two-child policy for availing government benefits, said CM Himanata Biswa Sarma.
Assam Chief Minister Himanata Biswa Sarma today said that the state will take into account population norms for selecting government beneficiaries be it loan waiver or any other government schemes. He, however, made an exception saying that the rule won’t be applicable to tea garden workers and the SC-ST community. “In future, population norms will be taken into account as eligibility for government benefits. Population policy has begun,” said the Assam Chief Minister.
“We will gradually incorporate a two-child policy for availing government benefits. You can consider this an announcement,” said Sarma on 18th June.
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However, the proposed population control policy will not be applicable in all the schemes as many of the benefits are offered by the central government. “There are some schemes for which we cannot impose the two-child policy, like availing free admission in schools and colleges or houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana,” said Sarma.
The BJP government’s move has invited opposition’s ire. The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has condemned the proposed population policy and termed it anti-secular and unconstitutional. The party also slammed Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for advocating a two-child norm for availing government benefits and exempting certain communities. “This policy of Assam is not only discriminatory but anti-secular and unconstitutional,” said IUML National President K Kader Mohideen.
Himanta Biswa Sarma had urged the minority community in the state to adopt a decent family planning policy for population control to reduce poverty on June 10. He had said that unplanned population growth leads to shrinking of living space and consequent land encroachment.
Assam currently has a two-child norm along with requirements of minimum educational qualifications and functional sanitary toilets for contesting in panchayat polls as per an amendment in 2018 to the Assam Panchayat Act, 1994.