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Uttar Pradesh Unveils New Population Policy 2021-2030
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Uttar Pradesh Unveils New Population Policy 2021-2030

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The Uttar Pradesh government has announced new Draft Population Policy 2021-2030 on the occasion of World Population Day (11 July).

 

Key Features

  • It promotes a two-child policy, violation of which would mean people will be debarred from contesting local body elections, applying for government jobs, or availing service benefits and receiving any government subsidy.
  • Efforts will be made to increase the accessibility of contraceptive measures issued under the Family Planning Programme and provide a proper system for safe abortion.
  • Comprehensive arrangements will be made for the care of the elderly, apart from better management of education, health, and nutrition of adolescents between 11 to 19 years.
  • Focus area also include reducing the newborns' and maternal mortality rate. Maternity centres will be set up at all primary health centres.
  • Target is to bring the birth rate to 2.1 per thousand population by 2026 and to 1.9 by 2030.
  • The policy will be voluntary - it will not be enforced upon anyone.

 

Two Child Policy in India

  • India does not have a national child policy on population control. So far, 12 States have introduced the two-child norm. These include, Rajasthan (1992), Odisha (1993), Haryana (1994), Andhra Pradesh (1994), Himachal Pradesh (2000), Madhya Pradesh (2000), Chhattisgarh (2000), Uttarakhand (2002), Maharashtra (2003), Gujarat (2005), Bihar (2007) and Assam (2017). Recently Lakshadweep also proposed similar norms.
    • Of these, four States - Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana have revoked the norm.

 

Efficacy of Two Child Norms

  • A five-State study (Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha and Rajasthan) by a bureaucrat entitled “Law of Two Child Norm in Panchayats – Implications, Consequences and Experiences” found that in the States that adopted a two-child policy, there was a rise in sex-selective and unsafe abortions; men divorced their wives to run for local body elections; and families gave up children for adoption to avoid disqualification.
  • There is no evidence that coercive policies work. Stringent population control measures could potentially lead to an increase in sex selective practices, given the strong son-preference in India.
  • States such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu have experienced significant reduction in fertility rates without any coercive methods. This has been achieved by empowering women and by providing better education and healthcare facilities.

 

Is there any concern of population explosion?

  • There is no evidence that there is a population explosion in the country. India has already started experiencing a slowing down in population growth and a decline in fertility rate.
    • Census 2011 confirms that the decadal growth rate during 2001-2011 had reduced to 17.7% from 21.5% over 1991-2001.
    • The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is decreasing in India, going down from 3.4 in 1992-93 to 2.2 in 2015-16 (NFHS data).
  • According to UN World Population Prospects 2019, by 2027, India is expected to overtake China to become the most populous country. The overall size of population will continue to increase for some more time as two-thirds of India’s population is under 35 years. This is termed as Population Momentum.

 

Conclusion

Development is the best contraceptive. Family planning is largely considered a woman’s responsibility, which is reflected in the low male engagement in family planning programmes. Apart from strict population control measures, India must address widespread deprivation, inequality, and social and gender discrimination in access to health, education, and employment opportunities.

 

Sources:

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