THE UN report released on Monday, World Population Day, which showed that India is expected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country by 2023, has found itself caught in political crosshairs.
Leaders on party lines weigh in on the population debate – Have fertility rates risen? Does population have an impact on development? Is there a population explosion? Who grows in size? And if the population grows, what will be the quality of life?
Addressing a meeting in Lucknow Monday to mark the start of two weeks of population control, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said: “It should not happen that the rate of population growth or the percentage of some communities is high, and we stabilize the population of the moolniwasi (indigenous people) through awareness or implementation. ”
Warning “a bad impact on religious demographics” in the case of jan sankhiki asantulan (population imbalance), Adityanath said it could lead to “avayvastha (disorder)” and arajakta (anarchy). ”“ So, when unified we will talk about population stabilization, it should be consistent for all and beyond caste, religion, language or region. “
As part of previous attempts by the Adityanath-led government, the UP Law Commission in August, 2021 submitted a draft of the Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization and Welfare) Bill, 2021, to encourage families to follow a two- child norm. On population day last year, the CM announced a Uttar Pradesh Population Policy 2021-2030 to lower the total fertility rate among women to 2.1 in 2026 and to 1.9 in 2030. The proposed Bill has come under flak for “its preference for punishment as a means of population control”.
Union minister Giriraj Singh took a new step on Monday for a strict law to control the country’s population, calling it a “barrier to development”. In a video statement shared on Twitter, Singh said: “We have limited resources. Our population is growing like the mouth of Sursa (a female demon). The vikrit mansikta (perverse mindset) in which a person is born 10 children cannot be allowed.
“The BJP’s ally in Bihar, Janata Dal (United), has taken a different stance on the matter. On June 6, Prime Minister Nitish Kumar contradicted Union minister Prahlad Patel’s comment on June 1 that the BJP would introduce of the population control law by saying “Nothing will happen just by making laws. Work must be done in this way to be part of nature. Everyone must see what happened after the enactment of the population control law.” population of China ”.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav continued the conversation while chairing a meeting in which delegates of his party, CPI-ML, CPI, CPI (M) and the Congress jointly expressed support for Yashwant Sinha for presidential polls scheduled to be held on July 18.
Speaking to reporters after the event, he said the population increase did not mean a bad performance on economic or development indicators. “Despite being the most populous country, China leads India in terms of economy, GDP, and development. Shouldn’t this spark debate? If population growth is a threat, then why is China functioning so well?
Responding to BJP statements that there had been a “population explosion”, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted that India’s fertility rate was below the replacement level. “The concern is to ensure a healthy and productive young population, which (the) Modi govt has failed miserably,” Owaisi said.
He added: “Sanghi will spend time spreading fake news. The fact is that the youth and children of India are facing a dark future under Modi’s leadership. At least half of India’s youth are unemployed. India is home to the largest number of malnourished children in the world ”.
Temjen Imna Along, the Minister of Higher and Technical Education in the Nagaland government of which the BJP is an ally, advocated singleness and joining the “single movement”. “On the occasion of #WorldPopulationDay, let’s be smart on population growth issues and plant smart childcare options. Or #StaySingle like me and together we can contribute towards a sustainable future. Come join the singles movement today, ”he tweeted on Monday.
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav responded to Adityanath’s comments by issuing a tweet on Tuesday, in which he said: “Anarchy does not come from the population, but from the destruction of democratic values . “
Shafiqur Rehman Barq, a Samajwadi Party MP, accused the Uttar Pradesh government of seeing population growth from a “particular angle” to get votes in the 2024 General Election. Speaking to reporters on Monday, Barq said: “instead of thinking of a law to check population growth, the government should pay attention to education and make proper adjustments for everyone, no matter how poor they are, big or small “.
(with inputs from PTI)