How many ‘legitimate and illegitimate children’ of ministers? Salman Khurshid on UP’s proposed population control policy | India News

NEW DELHI: The Uttar Pradesh government’s proposed draft bill on population control has evoked sharp reactions from the opposition parties, who have called it BJP’s election propaganda ahead of the assembly elections in the state next year.
Reacting strongly to the move, senior Congress leader and former Union minister Salman Khurshid asked the state government to share how many “legitimate and illegitimate children” its ministers have.
“Politicians should declare how many children they have. I will also declare how many I have and then it should be discussed,” he said.
When asked to elaborate on his statement on legitimate and illegitimate children, Khurshid said, “Those who consider it wrong should talk to me.”
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had on Sunday unveiled the Uttar Pradesh Population Policy 2021-2030. The aim of the draft policy is to steady the growing population in the state and reduce maternal and infant deaths in a time-bound manner.
The 40-page policy document mentions that “attempts would be made to ensure there is a population balance among various communities in the state. Extensive campaigns would be run in communities, groups, and geographical areas where fertility rates were higher.”
‘Ban marriages for next 20 years … but where will you get people to fight if there is a war’
Samajwadi Party (SP) MP from Sambhal, Shaqfiqur Rahman Barq said the state government should ban marriages if it wants to stabilise rising population.
“It would be better to stop marriages. No one should be allowed to get married for the next 20 years and no children will be born,” he said slamming the state government’s move.
“It (draft bill) is an electoral propaganda. They (BJP) look at everything from a political angle. They just want to win elections and don’t take any decision in the interest of the people. Since assembly election is coming, they are concerned about it. By the grace of Allah, we will not let them win,” Barq said on Sunday evening.
“Those who will challenge the law of Allah will get finished,” the MP from Sambhal said further.
Barq said while China was encouraging its citizens to have more children, India was doing the opposite which might backfire in case of a war.
“A lot of births are taking place in China and you (India) are stopping people from having children. A time will come when we will be very few. If there is a war, then from where will you bring people to fight,” Barq said.
Leader of opposition in UP assembly, Ram Govind Chowdury charged that the state government had failed on all fronts be it law and order or providing employment.
“To divert attention from its failure, it is bringing a bill. Population can be controlled through awareness. People are now themselves aware and considering two child norm,” Chowdhury told reporters in Ballia.
“If someone has two daughters, will he not go for the third in the hope that it will be a son. There is a population control law already,” he said.
What the draft Bill proposes …
The propsed draft of the population control bill says it is necessary to control and stabilise the population of the state for the promotion of sustainable development with more equitable distribution.
The Bill proposes that people having more than two children in the state will be debarred from contesting local body polls, applying for government jobs or receiving any kind of subsidy.
It also prohibits promotions in government jobs for such people, while offering incentives to those limiting their children to two.
Suggestions have been invited from the public on the draft Bill till July 19.
If enacted, the provisions of the proposed legislation titled The Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Bill, 2021 will come into force after one year from the date of publication in the Gazette, according to the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission (UPSLC) website.
‘Remove one-child norm from draft population control Bill’
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) has suggested to the Uttar Pradesh government to remove the one-child policy norm from its draft population control Bill, saying it is likely to lead to furthering of the imbalance between different communities and contraction of the population as well.
The saffron outfit has also asked the Yogi Adityanath government to remove “the anomaly” of rewarding or punishing the child, instead of the parents, from the Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Bill, 2021.
In a letter to Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission (UPSCL), VHP’s working president Alok Kumar has said the population in a society stabilises when the average number of children born to a woman in her reproductive life is marginally above two.
In a contracting population, the ratio between the working-age population and the dependent population gets disrupted, he said.
In an extreme case, the one-child policy would lead to a situation where there is only one working-age adult to look after two parents and four grandparents, he added.
China had adopted the one-child policy in 1980, but had to withdraw it within three decades to get over such a situation, the VHP leader said.
He added that the imbalance between different communities has been “growing” in several states.
(With inputs from PTI)

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