Even with various efforts and methods to plan families and control births over the years, the problem of too many people still exists. In 2015, a proposal called the Two-Child Norm Bill suggested encouraging smaller families by offering perks like free education and job opportunities to families with two kids. If this bill becomes a law, it means the government will spend money from the Consolidated Fund of India.
Analysing the Two-Child Policy in India
The number of people in India is growing rapidly, and it’s expected to keep increasing in the future. This is mainly because a higher proportion of people in the age range where they typically have children are getting married and starting families. To address this issue, the states of Assam and Uttar Pradesh in India have implemented a two-child policy as a measure to control the significant population growth.
Proposed Provisions in the Two-Child Policy
Here are some proposed provisions in the two-child policy bill adopted by the state of Assam and Uttar Pradesh.
Limits on Welfare Benefits: If someone has more than two children after this rule is enforced, they won’t be able to enjoy various benefits like those provided by welfare programs.
No Regional Election Participation: Individuals exceeding the limit of two children will not be allowed to run for elections at the local or regional levels. The restriction applies to the number of members in the ration card.
Job Eligibility Impact: People with more than two children won’t be eligible to apply for jobs in the State government.
No Raise for Government Employees: Those with full-time government jobs and more than two children won’t be eligible for salary raises and subsidies.
Incentives for Two-Child Policy Adoption: Individuals, including public workers, who willingly choose sterilization as part of the two-child policy will receive incentives such as tax rebates. State housing facilities will also be available for families with two or fewer children.
One Child Bonus: Families with only one child will receive additional employment benefits, including four extra increments, along with free healthcare and schooling until the child turns 20.
Rebates for Non-Government Employees: Those outside government employment adhering to the two-child policy will enjoy discounts on electricity and water bills, home loans from banks, and housing taxes.
Challenges in Implementing a Two-Child Policy in India
Here are some potential challenges in implementing a two-child policy in India.
Unintended Consequences: Trying to control the number of children people have globally has shown it might not work well, causing unexpected issues with populations.
Contrary to Global Obligations: India is committed to following international laws, including the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action.
Violation of the Right to Reproductive Freedom and Privacy: In a significant case in 2009, the Supreme Court in India emphasized that a woman’s right to decide about having children is a crucial part of her personal freedom, protected by Article 21 of the Indian constitution.
Potential Increase in Gender Inequality: Enforcing a specific number of children might not actually lower birth rates but could make gender inequality worse. Experts worry that such policies could lead to discrimination against girls.
Potential Increase in Unsafe Abortions: In a society where having only two children is enforced, the pressure on women to have male children may rise. This could result in more unsafe abortions and an imbalanced ratio of male to female births.
Way Forward for the Two-Child Policy in India
While India has introduced a two-child policy, there’s a need to enhance and better address the challenges associated with it. Instead of simply imposing the policy on the people, the government should focus on improving awareness about the consequences of a growing population. This way, individuals can make informed choices, and the policy can be more effective in managing population growth.
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