A Shiv Sena move to introduce a bill for providing incentives to promote limiting the number of children to two per family would embarrass its ruling partners, particularly the Congress, NCP and Samajwadi Party.
The Sena Rajya Sabha member, Anil Desai has moved a private member’s bill proposing incentives to promote family planning. Desai moved the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020 proposing to insert Article 47A into the Constitution of India to incentivise people who keep their family limited to two children and seeks to withdraw every concession from people who fail to adhere to the small family norm.
Several leaders from the Congress and NCP privately expressed their reservation over the proposed bill and felt that it would not be accepted by Muslims who are their traditional voters.
Citing the population growth in India as the reason for proposing the amendment, Desai’s bill said, “The fact that the population of India has already crossed over 125 crores is really frightening. The country has doubled its population in just forty years and is expected to unseat China as the world’s most populated country in the next couple of decades, by the year 2050.”
“As per the UN report, India, Nigeria and Pakistan are the countries which have the highest rate of growth of population. India’s current yearly growth rate is 1.02 per cent. The country as a whole has a population density of 416 people per square kilometre, which ranks 31st in the World. Despite the fact that we have framed a National Population Control Policy, we are the second-most populous country in the world,” the bill reads.
The bill further states, “Population explosion will cause many problems for our future generations. We have to be concerned about the population explosion. The Centre, as well as State Governments, should launch schemes to tackle it. Our natural resources are extremely overburdened. The rate of growth of any country is directly related to the size of its population.”
“Natural resources like air, water, land, woods etc. are subjected to overexploitation because of overpopulation. Today, there is a greater need to keep a strong check on the increase of our population.”
The Shiv Sena MP called for encouraging people to keep the family small by offering tax concessions, priority in social benefit schemes, and school admissions. “Today, there is a greater need to keep a strong check on the increase of our population,” said Shiv Sena MP.
He also suggests that measures may be introduced to discourage people from having more children, by withdrawing tax concessions, imposing heavy taxes, and by making other punitive provisions for violations.
Political observers feel that the bill would be a bone of contention among the allies. The SP has already expressed its reservation on the issue while Asaduddin Owaisi led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen strongly opposed it. The former MLA of AIMIM, Waris Pathan already took a strong exception over the private bill and hinted that it would unconstitutional. He asked how the government pass such a bill that is purely unconstitutional.
The official reactions from the NCP and the Congress leaders are yet to come.