‘Population Control Bill’: Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya says awareness needed, not force | The Financial Express

‘Population Control Bill’: Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya says awareness needed, not force

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh opposed the Bill saying it was based on a completely flawed assumption.

‘Population Control Bill’: Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya says awareness needed, not force
Mandaviya noted that the country has witnessed a reduction in Total Fertility Rate (TFR) — the average number of children per woman — to 2.0 nationally.

BJP MP Rakesh Sinha yesterday withdrew his private member bill with regards to population control after intervention by Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. Sinha had introduced his Population Regulation Bill in Rajya Sabha in July 2019. The Bill that sought to enforce a two-child rule with penal provisions for violation met resistance from Mandaviya who told the Rajya Sabha that the government had successfully used awareness and health campaigns to reduce population growth rather than using force.

Detailing the success of family planning programmes, Mandaviya noted that the country has witnessed a reduction in Total Fertility Rate (TFR) — the average number of children per woman — to 2.0 nationally. Sharing the data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-V and Population Census, Mandaviya stated that the rate of population growth has been decreasing consistently.

“In 1971, the average annual exponential growth was 2.20; 2.14 in 1991; 1.97 in 2001; and 1.64 in 2011. It shows population growth has declined, and has been declining….It is a good sign. The total fertility rate has dropped to 2.0 in NFHS-V,” said Mandaviya.

Highlighting that the teenage birth rate and teenage marriage has reduced to 6.8 per cent and 23.3 per cent respectively, Mandaviya said that the government’s policies in this direction are yielding positive result and requested Sinha to withdraw the bill.

Withdrawing his Bill, Sinha expressed confidence that the government will be able to control the population, rising above caste, religion, language and district. According to the Indian Express, Sinha also said that while he didn’t use the words Hindu or Muslim in the Bill, one should not hesitate to use facts while discussing an issue. “Between 1901 and 2011, the Hindu population has reduced by 13.8 per cent, while the Muslim population has increased by 9.8 per cent. This is a fact. I don’t want to comment on whether this increase is good or bad, but you can’t turn away from facts,” he said.

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh opposed the Bill saying it was based on a completely flawed assumption. “After two generations, the population will remain stable or begin to decline. Rakesh Sinha’s Bill is based on a completely flawed assumption. Barring the most unfortunate period of Emergency, India’s family planning has been based on democratic means,” he said.

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First published on: 02-04-2022 at 12:39 IST