Union minister Prahlad Singh Patel on Tuesday said that India will soon have a law for population control, PTI reported. The food processing minister made the statement while speaking to reporters at an event in Raipur.

Over the years, BJP leaders have been pushing for laws on population control. Their actions are based on the Hindutva narrative that Muslims produce more children as a deliberate plan to gain a majority, and capture political power in the country.

However, government data show that the fertility rate among Muslims has gradually declined over the years and is not alarmingly more than that of other communities in India.

Patel himself had introduced a private member’s Bill on population control in 2016. The Bill contained a provision to deny welfare benefits to those with a third child. He also proposed that government permission be made mandatory for giving birth to a third child.

The party’s Rajya Sabha MP Rakesh Sinha introduced the Population Regulation Bill, 2019 in July 2019 proposing several benefits such as housing subsidies, income tax rebates, travel subsidies, health insurance benefits and others for those families with two children where either spouse has undergone sterilisation.

Since 2021, the BJP-led Assam government barred citizens from government jobs if they had more than two children.

Since Independence, laws on a two-child policy have been tabled in Parliament more than 35 times, but have never been passed, The New Indian Express reported.

Drop in fertility rates among Indian Muslims

Fertility rate among Muslims has seen the sharpest decline among all religious communities in India over the past two decades, data from the National Family Health Survey-5 showed.

The fertility rate is the average number of children born to a woman in her lifetime.

The fertility rate among Muslims has dropped to 2.3 during the 2019 to 2021 period, from 2.6 recorded in 2015-16, the survey conducted by the Union health ministry showed. In 1992-93, Muslims had a fertility rate of 4.4.

Among Hindus, the fertility rate has dropped from 3.3 in 1992-93 to 1.94 in the latest survey. In the previous survey for 2015-16, fertility rate among Hindus was 2.1. The numbers show that the fertility rate has declined 46.5% among Muslims since 1992-93 and 41.2% in Hindus.

Data from the survey also showed that the fertility rate among Muslims is only 0.36 percentage points higher than that of Hindus.

In 2015, Scroll.in had reported that according to trends of the 2015-16 survey, it would take 220 years for India’s Muslim population to equal Hindu numbers. Between 1951 and 2011, Hindu population increased from 30.04 crore to 96.6 crore, according to Pew Research Centre. In the same duration, the Muslim population increased from 3.5 crore to 17.2 crore.