Job, income, education incentives in UP law panel draft 2-child plan

The draft Bill aims to bring down the gross fertility rate by disincentivising more than two children per couple, and by offering a range of benefits to those who choose not to have more than two children.

The Uttar Pradesh Law Commission on Monday submitted the Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization and Welfare) Draft Bill to the Chief Minister’s Office for consideration and further action.

The draft Bill aims to bring down the gross fertility rate by disincentivising more than two children per couple, and by offering a range of benefits to those who choose not to have more than two children.

The draft Bill proposes to deny government benefits to those with more than two children, and bar them from contesting local body polls, applying for government jobs, or receiving any kind of government subsidy.

An initial version of the draft Bill was published on the Law Commission’s website on July 9, and suggestions from the public were invited until July 19.

“For every nationalist the increasing population is a matter of concern. The Ayog has an opinion that there should be an independent law for population control, and those following the two-child family policy should be encouraged and those violating it should be prohibited from state welfare schemes and from contesting local body elections,” the Commission said in a statement issued on Monday.

Commission Secretary Sapna Tripathi told The Indian Express that the revised draft had been submitted to the office of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The Commission had received 8,500 suggestions, including from judges and lawyers of the Supreme Court and High Court, and around 99.5 per cent people had favoured a population control law, Tripathi said.

“In several decisions even the Supreme Court has said that the two child policy is neither against protection of life and personal liberty nor against the freedom of religion. Instead the policy is for the country’s welfare and is necessary for the overall development of the country,” Tripathi said in her statement issued on Monday.

According to the draft Bill, the policy shall come into force on a date notified by the government, which shall be a year from the date of publication of the Act in the Gazette.

A person would be considered in breach of the two-child norm if they have more than two living children, one of whom is born on or after the appointed date.

This also means that a person who already has two children can have a third with no repercussions, as long as they have it within a year of notification of the Act.

A person would be considered in compliance with the policy if they or their spouse undergo voluntary sterilisation, or if the wife has attained the age of 45 years and their youngest child is 10 years old.

According to the draft Bill, a person who adopts the two-child policy will receive subsidy benefits on the purchase of a plot or house site from the housing board or the development authority; a soft loan to build or buy a house on nominal rates of interest; rebates on water and electricity charges, house tax, and sewerage charges; and free healthcare and insurance cover for spouse.

In case the person follows the one-child policy, additional benefits will be available, such as free healthcare facility and insurance cover to the single child till the age of 21 years; preference to the single child in admission to all recognised educational institutions; free education up to graduation in prescribed manner; scholarship for higher studies in case of girl child; and preference to single child in state government jobs in their respective categories.

Public servants who adopt the two-child norm will be given incentives such as two additional increments during the period of service; a 3 per cent increase in the employer’s contribution fund under the National Pension Scheme; and free healthcare facility and insurance cover to spouse. Those who adopt a single-child policy will receive an additional increment.

The single-child policy in the draft Bill has ignored objections of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to sections that aim at an average of less than 2 children per woman.

The draft Bill mentions some exceptions: if a person with one child has two or more children through a single subsequent pregnancy after the appointed date, the children of the subsequent pregnancy shall be counted as only one child; a child who suffers from disability from birth will not be taken into account.

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