A humane approach to population control appears to be a timely and rational step to be taken especially in those geographical areas where population density is too high.
Population Control again turned a prime talking point with Assam & UP drafting the States’ Population Control Bills. Two years ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his eloquent speech on Independence Day 2019, raised a point, triggering speculations about whether India was going to make population control legally mandatory. Prime Minister harped on raising general awareness about huge population outbursts in India and the responsibility of Indians to tackle corresponding complications thereby. He defined the willful planning of small families as patriotism because our country is already under huge population pressure followed by consequential space-crunch. Based on PM's speech, speculations came up whether NDA Government planned to focus on a Population Control Bill in the Parliament thereafter. However, discussion on such a bill was in vogue for quite some time from before PM’s speech in 2019. Certain MPs like Giriraj Singh & BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay made it a point &some media persons started debating whether Population Control measures if made legally mandatory in India, would aim at punishing those who're having multiple children. BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay advocated for a law to punish people with more than two kids. Questions were raised whether such legal steps would curb down personal liberty of people or not. International media like Aljazeera had even interpreted India's effort for Population Control to be an expression of islamophobia. All such speculations indicated that the matter required analytical attention as in the steadily kinetic scenario of the world, no rules & practices can ever remain static & unchangeable.
Population indeed is a glaring challenge is a huge part of today's world. Hence, a humane approach to population control appears to be a timely and rational step to be taken especially in those geographical areas where population density is too high. People of certain anthropological origins have a pretty high fertility rate concerning the space available to them for living. Hence, academic & practical rationale of population control perhaps needs to be propagated to the mass not only locally but also from some global forum like the UN, not only in India but also in other countries. Population explosion in some parts of the globe does not remain a local issue but turns global. People from those parts do not necessarily remain confined there but migrate to other parts too burdening the whole globe. India belongs to such a populous part of our planet.
People who are giving birth to too many children need to be aware that lifestyle & quality of life of them & their close neighborhood is supposed to deteriorate day by day due to huge population pressure. The children who’re born, are being deprived of the quality of life they deserve because of unplanned, frequent child-birth in their vicinity.
Vice President of India, Sri Venkaiya Naidu too had addressed the issue of population pressure with sheer mathematical logic. He delivered a speech about it at ICCR, Kolkata on August 16, 2019, where he was present to unveil the portrait of BHARAT RATNA Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his first death anniversary. Vice President enunciated to the eminent dignitaries of Kolkata including representatives of Consulates of different countries present there that population may grow but available land & prime resources of a country won’t grow proportionately.
As some media persons became apprehensive that the law for population control may be punitive & vindictive to some specific communities, I pondered on why shouldn’t child-birth depend on the fair financial capacity of parents & be pre-determined for every couple based on multi-factorial evaluation?
“As per Preventive & Social Medicine, every person needs a definite area & airspace for healthy growth since birth. So the number of children a couple may give birth to scientifically requires to depend upon how much house space they can provide to their children for healthy growth. Based on the proper evaluation, some couples of India may not be eligible for parenting even 2 children. Why shouldn’t the child-birth eligibility of couples depend on various socio-economic & health parameters of both the parents?”
Child-birth eligibility needs to be customized & vary from couple to couple subject to a maximum allowable number keeping in mind the huge population pressure that’s already existing. Based on scientific evaluation parameters, there may be many such couples who would not be eligible to give birth to even a single child. On humane grounds, based on the choice & health conditions of both the parents, such couples may be declared eligible for giving birth to only a single child or may be allowed to adopt one (whichever is easier & less hazardous for the concerned couple).
While in the recent past both Assam and Uttar Pradesh proposed laws to enforce two-child policies in their respective states, I think the two-child policy is a generalization as there exist many couples who, on proper evaluation, won’t qualify to have even a single child. 2 children is too much for them.
The maximum number of children that a couple may give birth to irrespective of their caste, creed, race & religion, ideally needs to depend upon their health conditions, financial conditions, provision of home space for newborn population & ability to assure them the minimum required quality of life by the parents as well as by the State. Scientifically & ideally, this number needs to be scheduled & standardized depending on the multi-parameter evaluation of the concerned couple. Shouldn’t the scheduled maximum allowable number of children logically vary from couple to couple? The concerned woman might be allowed to bear that scheduled maximum allowable number or lesser in her total reproductive phase.
Keeping in mind the legal provision of multiple marriages amongst Muslims, if a man marries 4 women & gives birth to 2 children with each wife, he alone would end up parenting 8 children. Hence, until legislative activation of Article 44, Uniform Civil Code is passed, Muslim children need to be counted concerning, not a couple of their parents, but exclusively their fathers. Not only every Muslim woman but every Muslim man too needs to have a ceiling of several children he can father.
Arguments of personal liberty being hampered by the law of population control don’t seem tenable. While the right to sex may physiologically be a fundamental right but right to give birth to children may not be so. The child-birth right needs to be conditional & may depend upon other factors as it affects not only collective social living but also those children who are born.
It would be pertinent to mention that outburst of the Rohingya population who’s begging for shelter in India & Bangladesh is a crying problem of the sub-continent. Rohingya- population explosion is threatening not only human beings but the comprehensive ecosystem around them. Bangladesh offered Rohingyas the option of willful vasectomy in their camps, which indeed was a wise administrative step. Opinions came up that if India too offered them shelter on humanitarian grounds, the country needed to impose mandatory vasectomy & ligation of their men, women & children beyond a particular age limit. For a better future of Rohingyas themselves, some global forum like UN needs to act promptly to aid & educate them for population control. Otherwise, it may lead to undesirable consequences for the comprehensive environmental ecosystem.
The society in which human beings are equally conscious of both their rights & responsibilities is truly modern society. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinted at this responsibility of the current Indian society in his 2019 Independence Day speech from Red Fort. After 2 years of his speech, India is seriously thinking of legally ensuring population control.
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