We've all heard about how in a short span of time, India will be the most populous country in the world. The problem with an increasing population is that it puts a lot of pressure on the industries and resources of a country. Human wants are insatiable, the overall increase in population will end up burdening markets, even those of essential goods. Every time the debate about a two-child policy comes up.
When the two-child policy is brought up in conversation, there is a lot of discussion in the media and in speeches by politicians and activists. Some of them are adamantly opposed to India's two-child policy. What are the arguments for and against this policy and what states have started the process of formulation such a policy?
States on the two-child policy
Assam's chief minister announced incentives, government benefit and liabilities related to the two-child rule. Which gave rise to this discussion yet again.
The first version of the proposed population control bill was released by the Indian state, Uttar Pradesh's State Law Commission on Friday. The draft law contains clauses that would debar persons with more than two children from receiving government benefits and perks reserved for those who adhere to the two-child policy.
Those with more than two children are not eligible for state government jobs in Rajasthan. According to the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Act of 1994, if a person has more than two children, he or she is ineligible to run for election as a panch or member. In the case of a disabled child, however, the two-child rule is loosened.
In Maharashtra, candidates with more than two children are barred from running in local body elections (ranging from gramme panchayats to municipal corporations). A person having more than two children is likewise unable to receive a government job in Maharashtra, according to the state's civil service norms. Women with more than two children are likewise barred from receiving government assistance.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
If a person had more than two children before May 30, 1994, they are unable to run for office under the Panchayati raj regulations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In Uttarakhand, too, the two-child rule applies to Zilla panchayat elections and prevents development committee participation.
These are just a few examples of the two-child norm
SC on the two-child policy
The constitution permits both Union and state legislatures to enact laws on India's population control and family planning. A national regulation capping the number of children a couple can have does not exist in the country. As a result, the Supreme Court has never had to consider such a policy. However, there have been petitions filed in the Supreme Court asking for an order to the Union government to formulate a population control policy based on the two-child rule.
In 1981, the Supreme Court affirmed a rule that made a third pregnancy a reason for an Air India air hostess' service being terminated. The Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that having a third child automatically disqualifies a person from running for panchayat elections or serving as a member or sarpanch.
However, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, seeking a directive to the Election Commission to impose an extra condition that "political parties shall not set up candidates who have more than two children," in March 2019.
Pros and Cons of two-child policy
1. The one-child and two-child policies are fundamentally different in that the former decreases the population, whereas the latter attempts to stabilise or replace the same population growth rate.
2. A lot of people cite the example of China, and how a one-child policy there led to the ageing of the Chinese population. However, we must not forget that this policy was forced upon people for over 3 decades. If a two-child policy were to be implemented in India, it would not force the population, instead, it would incentivize having only two children.
3. High rates of unemployment are a major concern in the Indian economy. Artificial intelligence will eliminate much unskilled or semi-skilled employment in the near future. In such a context, if India intends to be a powerful and welfare state, greater emphasis must be placed on enhancing the quality of human resources through population reduction.
4. It is widely held that a rising population is connected with higher levels of economic activity. While this is true on a national level, it may not guarantee equality on a personal level. With high rates of unemployment, the standard of living of Indians is quite low.
5. Population management in India can help cut carbon emissions and mitigate climate change. Carbon emission refers to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as a result of various human activities. India is one of the top five countries in the world in terms of carbon emissions. China avoided roughly 300 million births as a result of the one-child policy, averting 1.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2005, based on global per capita emissions of 4.2 tonnes (Doyle). Controlling population growth can aid in the reduction of India's rising carbon emissions. As a result, it would aid in slowing the worsening global warming.
1. Such a rule could have unexpected consequences, such as sex-selective and unsafe abortions, as well as a greater skew in India's gender ratio. It is feared that the two-child limit will only affect women, as men who have more than two children may abandon their wives. It is also claimed that if the two-child policy is implemented, sex selection will grow.
2. Experts believe a policy to restrict population across all Indian states would be detrimental. According to the NFHS 5 statistics, Bihar had a total fertility rate of 3 children per woman in the 15-49 year age bracket in 2019-20, whereas Sikkim had 1.1 children. this indicates that women are having fewer children than is required to replace the present generation in Sikkim. As family finances increased and women were educated, the fertility rate fell across Indian states without the use of coercion.
3. India has a thriving technological industry that is heavily reliant on young people. There is concern that by limiting the number of children who can be born, the following generation will not have enough educated young people to continue India's technological revolution.
4. More successful than coercive methods would be women's education, understanding of family planning, and easy access to contraception. More adolescent care and knowledge, programmes to eliminate social and cultural taboos around contraception use, and behaviour change communication, particularly for men, would be better uses of the family planning budget.
5. Lastly, India is a democracy. A two-child policy would take away the rights of a woman on her body by limiting the number of children she wishes to have.