Government’s  Ambivalent Population Policy is Disappointing

The affidavit filed by the Union Government in the Supreme- Court in response to a petition filed by an Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay that it cannot adopt the policy of coercion in family planning by implementing two-child norm has been disappointing, to say the least. The logic of the government is that the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is declining, and any coercion will be counterproductive is fallacious logic. It is difficult to understand how the two-child norm policy will amount to coercion?
The burgeoning population of the country has created innumerable problems for the country. The land-area is fast shrinking because houses, factories, offices, hospitals, schools, colleges, institutes, roads, and other infrastructures need to be built to meet the requirements. The population, on the other hand, is not stabilising. It is increasing with every passing year. There are many people, who consider it their duty to defy the population control policy. They say that if God has given us one stomach, then ‘He’ has given two hands, two legs and other organs to work and feed the family. So, they do not believe in family planning.
There is an apocryphal story that when Benazir Bhutto was the PrimeMinister of Pakistan, a journalist asked about her views on population control, which she vigorously supported. But when asked whether she ever used contraceptives, she put her fingers on the mouth and told the lady journalist that if she replied in affirmative, Mullas would bay for her blood. Here in India also most of the Islamists consider it as an insult to their religion if they adopt the two-child norm policy. However, to be fair, the educated section of the Muslim community has realised the importance of the two-child norm.
National Population Policy was adopted some twenty years ago but it is still a voluntary programme. The government appears to beliving in the constant fear of the emergency days forgetting the fact it was because of the family programme of the emergency that the population of India is still 135crores otherwise; by now it would have been at least one and half times more than China, which is at least two times bigger in area than India.
The Government’s affidavit has also forgotten what the Prime Minister said in his Independence Day speech last year that ‘those who choose to have small families contribute to the development of the nation and that it was a form of patriotism’. If it is an act of patriotism, why no population policy is framed to keep it under check? India is one of the first few countries of the world which adopted the family planning programme, but it has never been given the force of the law. There is, no doubt, that there is a serious shortcoming in the two-child norm policy in a patriarchal society like India, where the desire for sons is so overpowering that people hardly have any regret ingoing for female foeticide. But this social problem must be handled by social awakening as well by strict implementation of laws.
I was appalled to find some people, who claimed to be very God-fearing and can not even think of even killing a rat, but they took recourse to female foeticides many times over in their insatiable desire of getting a son. Strangely, they never regretted their criminal acts. Therefore, a two-pronged strategy has to be adopted (a) persuasion along with (b) legal persecution for effectively controlling the population of the country.