Bharatiya Janata Party MP and actor Ravi Kishan on Friday said he wanted to introduce a private members’ bill on population control in the Lok Sabha, ANI reported.
Kishan, an MP from Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur constituency, has four children, NDTV reported.
“This is a bill for development,” he said. “The day it is passed, the nation will fly towards being a ‘vishwaguru’. I am viewing the bill only with an aspect of development and not that of caste or religion.”
“Vishwaguru”, or world leader, is a term often used by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP members to suggest that India’s stature on the global stage has improved under the current political regime.
On Friday, Ravi Kishan said that it was important to bring India’s population under control, ANI reported.
“With the way in which it is rising, we are heading towards explosion,” he was quoted as saying. “I request the Opposition to let me introduce the bill and listen to why I want to do it.”
Kishan’s statement came days after Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar, on Tuesday, had said that the Centre is not contemplating any legislative measures to control India’s population.
In response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Pawar had said that the government wanted to stabilise the country’s population by 2045, keeping in line with the National Population Policy 2000 and the National Health Policy 2017, reported PTI.
“Efforts of the government have been successful in reining in the growth of population,” she had told the Upper House.
Pawar had cited findings of the National Family Health Survey-5, saying that the total fertility rate had declined from 2.2 between 2015 and 2016 to 2.0 between 2019 and 2021. This, she said, was below the replacement level, reported PTI.
The total fertility rate is the average number of children a woman gives birth to in her lifetime.
Replacement rate is a crucial factor in the study of population growth. A replacement rate of less than 2.1 ensures the replacement of a woman and her partner upon death with no overall increase or decrease in the population.
On Tuesday, Pawar had also told the Rajya Sabha that the use of modern contraceptives has increased to 56.5%, reported PTI. The unmet need for family planning is only 9.4%, she added.
The Crude Birth Rate, she said, had declined to 19.7 per 1,000 persons in 2019. The Crude Birth Rate is the annual number of live births per 1,000 population.
“Hence, the government is not contemplating any legislative measures,” she added.
Many BJP leaders have pushed for laws on population control over the past few years. 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 shows that the fertility rate among Muslims has gradually declined over the years and is not alarmingly more than that of other communities in India.
Last month, Union minister Prahlad Singh Patel had claimed that India will soon have a law for population control.