Bihar BJP president and West Champaran MP Sanjay Jaiswal on Tuesday said the state should follow a one-child policy, similar to the one proposed by Uttar Pradesh, The Indian Express reported.

Jaiswal noted that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had implemented a two-child norm in 2007 for those willing to contest municipal polls, and that he should now consider encouraging a “positive regulation like one-child norm”.

“I appreciate Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for having a policy that encourages families adhering to one-child norm,” Jaiswal said. “Such positive regulation can help a great deal in curbing population.”

He, however, said that there is no need for a national legislation on population control as 24 states have already achieved population stabilisation.

His comments came a day after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that laws alone will not help control population explosion and that education was necessary to address the problem. “It was found after a lot of research work that the rate of reproduction comes down effectively if women are educated,” he remarked.

Uttar Pradesh’s proposed “UP Population (Control, Stabilisation, and Welfare) Bill, 2021” offers incentives for those who have only one child, including two additional increments and free healthcare for the child till the age of 20 years. The bill also states that people with more than two children will be barred from contesting local bodies polls, applying for government jobs or receiving any kind of subsidy. The proposed law will also attempt to bring down the state’s gross fertility rate from the existing 2.7 to 2.1 by 2026.

On July 11, Chief Minister Adityanath had said that “attempts would be made to ensure there is a population balance among various communities”.

After Uttar Pradesh released the draft law in public, several BJP leaders have called for introducing similar laws in other states, while Opposition leaders have not backed it.

On July 13, the BJP’s National General Secretary CT Ravi said on Twitter that it was high time Karnataka brought in a new population policy on the lines of Assam and Uttar Pradesh. “With the limited natural resources available, it will be difficult to meet the needs of every citizen if there is a population explosion,” he said.

The Karnataka government is set to study the merits and demerits of implementing a similar legislation in the study.

Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said on Tuesday said the state government will first study new laws introduced by other states on population control before deciding on the matter, PTI reported. “In Gujarat, people with more than two children cannot contest local body polls,” Patel said. “This shows that we have implemented this idea (of population control) many years ago.”

However, an unidentified official told The Times of India that if the Gujarat government decides to introduce such a legislation, it may do so in the upcoming Monsoon Session of the Assembly. “A bill like the one being proposed by Uttar Pradesh can yield political benefits to the BJP,” the official added.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, however, has objected to Uttar Pradesh’s draft law, saying that it can “lead to furthering the imbalance between different communities”.

In a letter to Uttar Pradesh Law Commission, VHP’s Acting President Alok Kumar said the reason behind the imbalance was because Hindu and Muslim communities respond differently to incentives and disincentives on family planning and contraception.

Kumar referred to Assam and Kerala as examples. He said that the total fertility rate of Hindus in the states was far below the replacement rate (total fertility rate at which women give birth to enough babies to sustain population levels) of 2.1. The VHP chief said that the total fertility rate for Muslims was 3.16 in Assam and 2.33 in Kerala. “In these states, one of the communities has thus entered the contraction phase while the other is still expanding,” the letter said.

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