Population control is the need of the hour and the government wants to bring down the birth rate to 2.1 by 2026, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said while releasing the state's population policy on the World Population Day today. The state government is working to implement this population policy keeping in mind "various sections of the society," he added.
"Population policy is not only concerned with population stabilisation but also to bring the path of happiness and prosperity in the life of every citizen to his doorstep," Yogi Adityanath said.
With a draft bill -- on which public response has been sought -- the population issue is emerging as a key political flashpoint ahead of next year's assembly elections.
The draft bill proposes that people with more than two children will be debarred from contesting local bodies polls, applying for government jobs or receiving any kind of subsidy. It also bars government employees from getting a promotion.
The bill also provides incentives. "Public servants who adopt the two-child norm will get two additional increments during the entire service, maternity or as the case may be, paternity leave of 12 months, with full salary and allowances and three per cent increase in the employer's contribution fund under the National Pension Scheme," the bill maintains.
The opposition Congress in the state has called it a "political agenda" and the Samajwadi Party said it is "murder of democracy".
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said if Uttar Pradesh is working for awareness on population control, it should be "welcome".
"Once the Congress party made lewd efforts which failed but people should be made aware in a better way," the minister added, pointing to the Congress's efforts in this direction in the 1970s, which had raised uproar across the country.
In Assam, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has already asked for the cooperation of Muslims to bring down the population.
On Saturday, he said the state government will make some "big announcement" on voluntary sterilisation and other population control measures in the Assembly session starting Monday.
Last month, Iqbal Mehmood -- the Samajwadi Party's MLA from Sambhal -- said that any law on population control would be a "conspiracy" against Muslims.
"The rise in the country's population is due to the Dalits and tribals and not because of Muslims," he was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India. Muslims, he added, have already understood the need to go for two or three children.
Samajwadi Party MLC Ashutosh Sinha said, "Bringing this bill means murder of democracy. This is an immature decision on the part of the Uttar Pradesh government," reported PTI.
In a Hindi tweet, UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh has said, "The RSS and BJP leaders talk about increasing the population. Population control is a subject of the Centre. Yogi Adityanath (CM) is bringing the bill keeping in mind the UP Assembly elections."