The Uttar Pradesh Law Commission, headed by Justice AN Mittal, has submitted the UP Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Draft Bill to the Chief Minister’s Office for consideration and further action. The state government is expected to present the bill in the Monsoon Session of the state legislature commencing on Tuesday.
The proposed bill it aims at bringing down the gross fertility rate by limiting government benefits for couples with more than two children, and offering incentives to those who have a maximum of two children.
The draft bill proposes to disincentivize those with more than two children, and also bar them from contesting local body elections, applying for government jobs or receiving any kind of government subsidy. Also, stress has been laid on the enforcement of a one-child policy.
“For every nationalist the increasing population is a matter of concern. The Ayog has an opinion that there should be an independent law for population control, and those following the two-child family policy should be encouraged and those violating it should be prohibited from state welfare schemes and from contesting local body elections,” the Commission said on Monday.
The Indian Express quoted Commission Secretary Sapna Tripathi saying that the revised draft has been submitted to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s Office. She said that the Commission had received 8,500 suggestions, including from Judges and lawyers of the Supreme Court, and around 99.5 per cent people were in favour of a population control law.
She said that even the Supreme Court agrees that the two-child policy is not against protection of life and personal liberty or against the freedom of religion, and instead is for the country’s welfare and its development.
According to the draft Bill, the policy shall come into force on a date notified by the government, which shall be a year from the date of publication of the Act in the Gazette.
As per the proposed draft bill, a person would be considered in breach of the policy if they have more than two living children, and one of them is born on or after the day the policy comes into effect. However, this also means that a couple with two children can have a third one, without violating the policy, if they have it within a year of the notification of the Act.
According to the draft bill, a person following the two-child policy will receive subsidy benefits on purchase of plot or house from the housing board or development authority, receive easy home loans at nominal interest rates, free healthcare and insurance cover for spouse, and concessions on water tax, electricity bills and more.
Pushing more for following the 1-child policy, the draft bill proposes additional benefits such as free healthcare facility and insurance cover till the age of 21, free education up to graduation, preference in admission to recognised education institutions and preference to single child in state government jobs.
For public servants who adopt the two-child policy, the draft bill proposes 3 per cent hike in employer’s contribution fund under the National Pension Scheme, along with free healthcare facility and insurance cover to spouse.
The draft bill has ignored the suggestion of allowing as third child to a couple with two daughters, or with a differently abled child. The suggestion was severely criticised by experts who said that it promoted a mindset preferring sons over daughters.