- Unnecessarily raking up the population bogey is a strange, ill-timed, ill-advised, and anachronistic phenomenon observed in the country’s political landscape whenever a major electoral battle approaches. Though found to be of little use or unyielding, the political parties never fail to embrace the controversial topic which often helps in brushing aside real issues of relevance vis-à-vis developments in the crucial fields of education, healthcare, and social welfare mitigating the difficulties of the poor and the marginalized. It is beyond sound logic or comprehension as to why the political class fails to truly realize the folly of adopting methods that hardly resonates with the aspirational society expecting much more than the beaten to death issues.
PC: Magnet Brains
- Time and again it is proved beyond doubt that such moves only facilitate in further polarizing the society vertically rather than serve larger interests of the citizens. Make no mistake, people can no longer be taken for granted as they are more equipped with the right information to see through dubious designs to call the bluff. However, the implicit urge to stoke controversies is second nature of our political class, irrespective of party affiliations, and one such move can be seen in Uttar Pradesh’s population policy for 2021-30 unveiled by the Chief Minister who also wants to incentivize couples to stick to a two-child norm. Digging deep into the issue would reveal why such a move is infructuous and unyielding.
- Note that the past decade has witnessed a sharp fall in India’s total fertility rates (TFR), even in UP, the most populous state. The National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS) data from the year 2015-16 indicates UP’s TFR fell to 2.7 in the same year from 3.8 ten years prior. Further, the Sample Registration System (SRS) report for 2018 pegged UP’s TFR slightly higher at 2.9 in 2018, but even this was a fall of 23.1% in a decade even bettering the national TFR decline of 18.5%. It is a no-brainer to observe that failing TFRs are massive demographic changes largely owing to an uptick in the education of girls, economic growth, migration, falling infant mortality rates, and higher institutional births duly aided by the ever-improving healthcare infrastructure.
PC: Fred Donovan
- This occurred without drastic population control policies and UP too will hit replacement TFR levels of 2.1 in due course like other states. As is the trend now, any government moves also portend more bureaucratic diktat which transforms into nightmares for ordinary citizens, especially the gullible poor. Announcing incentives is the least of the challenges but would otherwise transform into considerable devotion of state energies to identify eligible beneficiaries. Disincentives like barring access to welfare schemes and even the public distribution system for larger families pose exclusion risks, unintended but massive corruption, and unwanted social discrimination. The UP CM is potentially well-positioned to return to power and pushing socially disruptive measures could only undermine intended political gains in the coming days. Hence, UP should junk this idea forthwith.