Union minister Giriraj Singh in Noida on Tuesday advocated for a law to control the population in the country, noting that it was becoming an impediment for development and social harmony.
The Minister of State, Independent Charge, in the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Entreprises (MSME) also threatened to resign over the issue, saying he could go to "any extent" for it.
Mr Singh was in Noida to participate in a programme organised by the Jansankya Samadhaan Foundation, its activists and office-bearers handed over a memorandum to him seeking support for the law.
Citing different sources, he said India's population is equal to that of China, higher than 125 crore as believed, but resources like land and water are limited.
"For development and social harmony in the country, controlling the population is important," Mr Singh, Lok Sabha MP from Bihar's Nawada, told reporters.
"Development is also hampered by overpopulation and it is evident if you go to any road (traffic), school, hospital, and is also impacting employment opportunities. That is why it is very important that a law is framed in the country to control population," he said.
Noting that population control programmes were being carried out in 22 Islamic countries and it was only in India where such initiatives are linked to religion, he said the law should be such that it applies to all the communities and action taken against violators, including revoking their voting rights.
"If the law says only two children are allowed, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, and all others should follow it. Those who do not follow the law, their voting rights should be revoked, action on their finances be taken, legal proceedings initiated against them.
"Until that happens, the country would face reducing land, water, worsening environment and limiting of other resources," he said.
Asked if he would "resign" to press for such a law, as mentioned in a press statement by the foundation, he said, "I am ready to go to any extent for people's awakening."
He said he was "ideologically" with the foundation, which has held rallies in Amroha, Baghpat and Ghaziabad and plans to go to 34 more districts to press for the issue "from streets to 'sansad' (Parliament).
The minister also made references to Kairana, a town in Shamli which had witnessed exodus of over 200 Hindu families due to fear of "majority community", to say social harmony is witnessed only in areas where Hindus are present in majority.
"Wherever in the country the population of Hindus has gone down, social harmony has suffered a setback there," he said, claiming there were around 54 districts in the country and 21 in Uttar Pradesh, which have witnessed a drop in the Hindu population over the years.
Earlier Tuesday, the venue of the event had to be changed at the last minute after it appeared that the NGO was denied permission for the programme with the Union minister as its chief guest at the city magistrate's office in Sector 19 here.
The organisers claimed they had applied for permission and it was granted to them five days before the event, while officials in the administration said they had worked according to the protocol mandated for Union ministers and there was no issue of permission being denied.
Mr Singh also declined to comment on the last minute change in the venue, but said he was "a follower of the law".