Assam May Bring Law To Enforce 2-Child Policy Next Month

Assam currently has a two-child norm along with requirements of minimum educational qualifications and functional sanitary toilets for contesting in panchayat polls.

Assam May Bring Law To Enforce 2-Child Policy Next Month

The law could make only those with up to two children eligible for government jobs(Representational)

Guwahati:

The Assam government, that has made headlines with its advocacy of a two-child policy, may bring new legislation during next month's budget session of the state assembly to enforce it widely.

The law could make only those with up to two children eligible for government jobs and welfare schemes, official sources have said.

Asked about plans for the law, Assam's Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pijush Hazarika on Thursday said that the state government is working on the details of the two-child policy and ways to implement it but added that nothing has been finalised yet.

"We are planning. A lot of things need to be done on that. We are thinking about how it will be implemented," he said.

"We have already implemented the policy in case of panchayat elections but now we are extending it to state government jobs, Assam government beneficiary schemes and that's how we will expand the policy. But the finalisation of modalities are yet to be done," said Mr Hazarika said.

Assam currently has a two-child norm along with requirements of minimum educational qualifications and functional sanitary toilets for contesting in panchayat polls as per an amendment in 2018 to the Assam Panchayat Act, 1994.

Last week, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that there will be a gradual implementation of the two-child policy in state-run welfare schemes.

A week before that, Mr Sarma touched a nerve saying "social menaces" like land encroachment can be solved if the immigrant Muslims follow family planning norms and control their population.

"If the population explosion continues, one day even the Kamakhya temple land will be encroached upon. Even my house will be (encroached upon)," he added, referring to the state's famous pilgrim centre.

The two-child policy and the rhetoric surrounding it have faced criticism that it targets the state's Muslim population of Bangladeshi origin.

In the last two assembly polls that the BJP has won, the party has relied heavily on the narrative that it has to protect the indigenous communities of Assam against the illegal migrants.

The proposed population control policy will, however, not be applicable in all the schemes in Assam immediately as many of the benefits are offered by the central government.

Some backward communities like the tea tribe, who work in the tea gardens, would be exempted from this policy, a top official said.