ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Two-child Norm

In July 2021, Uttar Pradesh announced a population policy, the draft of the Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Bill, 2021. While the contents of the bill are contentious, so is the timing of its tabling in the legislature. In terms of substantive population planning, the draft document is not only detrimental to long-term demographic transition, it has serious repercussions for welfare state mechanisms.

Demography, Democracy and Population Policies

Uttar Pradesh’s proposed bill to enforce a “two-child norm” tries to link state government jobs, local government positions and welfare to the two-child norm through a series of incentives and disincentives. With the communally tinged rhetoric around this bill gaining currency, it is necessary to revisit the Supreme Court’s controversial judgment in Javed v State of Haryana (2003) where such problematic provisions relating to panchayat elections were upheld.

Centre-State Transfer of Resources

The strategy of freezing the population factor to 1971 levels in deciding Finance Commission awards has been successful in denying states with higher rates of growth of population the benefit of a larger proportion of resources. The penalised states, however, include most of the least developed regions of India. Moreover, this policy dilutes the importance of the population as an indicator of the needs of a state; it also lacks an explicit mechanism to encourage states to curb high rates of growth of population.

Population Policy: From Bad to Worse

Moves are afoot to alter the existing National Population Policy, attempting to rid it of the positive features that distinguish it.

Population Policies: States Approve Coercive Measures

With states evolving independent policies which appear to be contradicting the National Population Policy's core statement regarding the government's commitment to a target-free approach to family planning, the World Population Day saw the launch of a broad-based campaign of protest.
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