Union minister Giriraj Singh on Tuesday said the country needs a law to control the growing population, which is impeding progress and harmony in society, PTI reported. “For development and social harmony in the country, controlling the population is important,” he said.

The minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises cited several sources to claim that while India’s population was equal to that of China, the world’s most populous country, natural resources were only finite.

“Development is also hampered by overpopulation and it is evident if you go to any road, school, hospital, and [it] is also impacting employment opportunities,” Singh said at a programme in Noida. “That is why it is very important that a law is framed in the country to control population.”

The minister said he would be willing to resign in order to press for such a legislation. “I am ready to go to any extent for people’s awakening,” he said.

Singh said the government should implement population control programmes and should revoke the voting rights of citizens who do not follow them. The minister claimed that such programmes are already active in 22 Islamic countries and that the law should apply to all communities.

“Those who do not follow the law, their voting rights should be revoked, action on their finances be taken, legal proceedings initiated against them,” Singh said. “Until that happens, the country would face reducing land, water, worsening environment and limiting of other resources.”

The programme was organised by the Jansankya Samadhaan Foundation, which has held rallies in Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha, Baghpat and Ghaziabad to call for a population control legislation. It is also planning to organise rallies in 34 other districts.

Singh, the Lok Sabha MP from Bihar’s Nawada, also claimed that social harmony can be seen only in areas where Hindus make up the majority. “Wherever in the country the population of Hindus has gone down, social harmony has suffered a setback there,” he said.