Author(s): Varsha Jayaram, 3rd year Student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune and Mehak Shetty, 4th year Student at Pravin Gandhi College of Law.
Population is undoubtedly an issue in India considering it comes 2nd in the most populated countries list, with a population of 138 crores, right after China with 140 crores. Population, especially child population is an increasing factor in India. Childrens population increase creates a stronger demographic divide, with a tilt towards the youth with relation to elders.
National Child Policy: A brief overview
This submission is to help understand the concern of population. It is to interpret the problem it is in a developing country like India, and how its backlashes might have been overlooked. The paper presents the problem of an overpopulated country and in turn talks about a National Child Policy. Parts of the paper also deal with a comparative analysis between countries with versus without a National child Policy and how the same affects the countries outputs.
The need for a child policy in India
India being the second most populated country is not a negative factor till the time we consider the repercussions that this factor has. Until very recently, till the year 2017, India was not even crossing two thousand US dollars GDP per capita, but in 2019, India’s per capita increased to 2.1 US dollars, which has again gone down in the recent year. Compared to other countries, for instance Brazil was around the two thousand dollar per capita around the year 1986, Germany was around the same in the year 1970, United Kingdom in the year 1968, New Zealand around the year 1971, France in 1965. These factual backing show that even after having the second highest population, showcasing more manpower, the country is earning the per capita that outer were earning with way lesser population decades before India did.
The comparision of population density is extremely differing even though India has one pf the biggest landmasses in the world, and has the 7th largest landmass. In an area of one square killometer in India 469 individual reside or stay. While in Brazil 26, Germany 238, United Kingdoms 278, New Zealand is as low as 19, France has 123. The more the number of people the larger is the possibility of contaminating dissease.
Lack of at-par per capita income points to another concerning factor; education. In the realm of education, India also lacks behind.
With a large population comes the problem of organization. When the authorities want to cater to the needs of the citizens or individuals in the country they do the best in their power. With a larger number of people, more children, and more need to cater to, The government unintentionally ends up compromising on the quality of help offered or only a handful get the maximum advantage of any or schemes available.
These issues within the Indian society prove the solution of having a child policy. This policy could restrict the number of children an individual or couple or anyone could have. This policy could have effects for anyone who has more than a certain number of children, And that number can be decided by dedicatedly studying the demographics and current standing of the country in various essential areas.
This policy should be carefully drafted and should be made only with good intentions to help with the growth and development of the country, while still letting everyone have the ability to enjoy parenthood in some shape or form. Like other countries, this policy could restrict the number of children to 2. Whilst for individuals with more than 2 offspring or children, the remaining should be asked to serve the country or any other act that may be deemed fit.
Importance and relevance of the Two-child policy
- The demand for resources is greater than the supply.
- Population growth strains resources and reduces environmental quality by rising pollution levels.
- The country’s massive population dilutes the efficiency of its social services. Because of the high population density, it is difficult to tailor government aid services to the needs of individuals in urgent need.
Child-Policy in China
In 1979, China introduced the one-child policy. Despite the fact that the method was successful in slowing population growth, critics say that the policy’s unintended consequences have resulted in a plethora of societal difficulties in China today. China has gradually relaxed its one-child policy by allowing both single parents to apply for a second child. Later, in 2013, the conditions were relaxed, enabling any parent with a single kid to apply for a second child. Many nations initially supported the two-child policy, however many countries eventually abandoned it owing to population aging or rising sex ratios. In contrast, low fertility nations encourage their inhabitants to have more children. Countries such as South Korea, Singapore, Turkey, Japan, France, and Paris aggressively encourage its inhabitants to have more children. Some nations have imposed a two-child policy due to limited resources and a growing population.
China established the one-child policy in 1979, thinking that population control was critical to rescuing the country from decades of economic mismanagement.
Between 1950 and 1970, the population increased from 540 million to nearly 800 million.
As a response, the government passed the largely voluntary later-longer-fewer policy in the 1970s, which favored later childbearing, longer child spacing, and fewer children. As a result of this approach, the total fertility rate dropped dramatically from 59% per woman in 1970 to 29% per woman in 1979. While fertility declined, concerns about overpopulation continued, prompting the one-child policy.
Legal support of the Policy
Following a sequence of events, India now lacks national laws to impose two-child rules. In contrast, Prahlad Singh Patel introduced a private member’s bill in the Lok Sabha in 2016. Every state is required to promote a two-child policy under Section 3 of the Population Control Bill 2016, which is read in conjunction with Section 7. Section 8 makes it difficult for citizens to engage in continuous child welfare services if they do not follow the two-child policy. Regardless, before the law could be considered, the government was abolished. The Lok Sabha is currently debating two pieces of legislation. According to Rajya Sabha’s Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020, citizens who follow the two-child policy would enjoy tax, education, and employment incentives. Article 47A of the Constitution, which is the directive principle of state policy, is added to the bill to promote the two-child policy.
The legislation tries to promote the two-child policy by introducing a new provision known as Article 47A under Part 4 of the Constitution, which is the state’s guiding principle. The government intends to abolish any discounts or other incentives given to people who do not comply with Article 47A’s modest family rule. When the state withholds such essential services owing to noncompliance with the two-child requirement, fundamental rights are infringed. Citizens’ decision-making rights would be eroded, and Article 21 (right to life) would be infringed. This approach would also be in breach of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Candidates with more than two children are ineligible for government jobs in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. They are not permitted to run in local government elections in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, or Karnataka.
Population and Policy Developments
Mohan Bhagwat, the leader of the National Volunteer Organization (RSS), proclaimed a two-child policy as one of his major priorities in 2020. The two-child policy grew even more contentious with Bhagwat’s support. Some regard the plan as an attempt to limit India’s Muslim population growth. As of July 2021, there is no national two-child policy in India, while there are local ordinances. The family planning regulations are aimed at current and potential politicians. If a candidate violates the two-child policy, they are ineligible to compete in panchayat (local government) elections. The objective is for regular people to look up to and mimic the family sizes of their local politicians.
Some local governments have gone one step farther. Citizens having more than two children may face penalties in different states. Disincentives include depriving children born after a second child of government benefits. They may also refuse to give state-provided healthcare to women and children, including nutritional supplements for expectant mothers.
Fines and jail terms may be imposed on fathers. There are additional restrictions on government employment and advancement, as well as a reduction in general social aid for big families.
China’s negative effects on population control attempts, such as high sex ratios, abandonment of female offspring, population aging, and so on, have taught the globe a valuable lesson. It is preferable to invest in infrastructure and education to deal with population increase than to cope with the long-term effects of population restriction. Rather than investing in the population, a country might develop by providing high-quality education, health care, and other essential amenities to make the current population more productive, resulting in higher GDP. We can all agree that a large population causes a plethora of problems, and population management is essential. Punishment may backfire, and the best response is to promote growth.
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