Editorial Topic : AN UNPRODUCTIVE IDEA
QUESTION : Discuss the significance and the key concerns associated with draft population policy of Uttar Pradesh.
- New Population Policy Of Uttar Pradesh
WHY IN NEWS ?
- Recently, Uttar Pradesh (UP) unveiled its New Population Policy 2021-30, on the occasion of World Population Day (11th July).
WHY UP NEEDS SUCH POLICY ?
- In Uttar Pradesh, there are limited ecological and economic resources at hand.
- It was necessary that the provision of basic necessities of human life, economic/livelihood opportunities and a secure living is accessible to all citizens.
- Given that the increasing population acts as a hurdle in national development.
- India has been moving steadily towards attaining the replacement level of Total Fertility Rate of 2.1. However, some states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar continue to have high TFR.
THE NEW POLICY AIMS AT :
- Decreasing the total fertility rate from 2.7 to 2.1 by 2026 and 1.7 by 2030.
- Increase modern contraceptive prevalence rate from 31.7% to 45% by 2026 and 52% by 2030.
- Increase male methods of contraception use from 10.8% to 15.1% by 2026 and 16.4% by 2030.
- Decrease maternal mortality rate from 197 to 150 to 98, and infant mortality rate from 43 to 32 to 22, and under 5 infant mortality rate from 47 to 35 to 25.
KEY CONCERNS :
(1).Against right of a person to informed choices:
- Incentives and penalties form an integral component of the measures announced under UP’s population policy, to control population growth.
- The Government aims to incentivise one-child families and reward those with two children with perks in government schemes, rebates in taxes and loans, cash awards, etc. It aims to disincentivize more than two children through denial of subsidies and welfare benefits, a bar on applying for government jobs and taking part in local elections for those with more than two children.
- The incentives/disincentives approach has been denounced in the past by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for being against the right of people to informed choices on the size of the family.
(2).Failure to acknowledge underlying socio-economic aspects:
- This amounts to attempts of tackling a basically socio-economic issue as a demographic one. This is bound to remain ineffective as the policy fails to adequately account for the socio-economic aspects which have contributed to the higher TFR.
(3).Threat of discrimination:
- Empirical studies of coercive measures have shown their discrimination against marginalised people in particular.
- The disincentives approach could rob the access to critical governmental aid and support for the marginalized sections and could further deepen the existing inequalities in the society.
(4).Given that the burden of contraception and family planning disproportionately falls on women, it is likely that female sterilisation will increase further.
(5).Stringent population control measures can potentially lead to an increase in these practices and unsafe abortions given the strong son-preference in India, as has been witnessed in a few states in the past.
WHO WILL NOT BENEFIT FROM THIS LAW ?
- According to the bill, people having more than two children in UP will be debarred from benefits of all government-sponsored welfare schemes, cannot contest local polls.
- They shall be ineligible to apply for government jobs under the state or receiving any kind of subsidy, cannot get a promotion in a government job and his or her ration card would be limited to four members.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS POLICY :
- The various aims set out in the new policy like increasing the rate of modern contraceptive prevalence, male contraception, decreasing maternal mortality and infant mortality rates are welcome.
- These objectives are in line with the Cairo Consensus adopted in the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development in 1994. The Cairo Consensus called for the promotion of reproductive rights, empowering women, universal education, maternal and infant health to tackle the challenge of high fertility.
- Given the fact that the incentives/disincentives approach has had no discernible effect on population control, States should tackle the socio-economic issues confronting India’s citizenry.
- This could involve implementing more substantive poverty reduction schemes, economic reforms aimed at raising labour productivity and employment opportunities, empowering women, etc.
- Family planning is an effective tool to ensure a stable rise in the population. The government at all levels- Union, State and Local, citizens, civil societies as well as the businesses must take the onus to promote awareness and advocate the sexual and reproductive rights of women and encourage the use of contraception.
- There is a need for well-researched planning and implementation on how to harness the population growth for the maximum economic benefit of the society and country.
To hasten the drop to replacement levels of fertility, States should tackle the socioeconomic issues confronting India’s largely youthful demography rather than seeking neo- Malthusian approaches on population control.