The Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government on Sunday said that “attempts would be made to ensure there is a population balance among various communities”, reported The Indian Express.

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister made the remark as he released a document on the state government’s new population control policy. The document noted that the government would conduct campaigns among communities or groups where fertility rates were higher. The new legislation, when passed, would also attempt to bring down the state’s gross fertility rate from the existing 2.7 to 2.1 by 2026.

The Population Policy 2021-’30 document was released two days after the Uttar Pradesh Law Commission released a draft of the proposed legislation. The draft of the bill said that violators would be barred from contesting local body elections, applying for government jobs and getting subsidies under government welfare schemes.

In disincentives, the draft bill said a government employee would be barred from getting any promotion if the two-child rule was flouted.

“We have prepared the proposal on our own and have sought suggestions from the people,” Uttar Pradesh Law Commission Secretary Sapna Tripathi told The Indian Express on Sunday. “We will study the suggestions, and based on that we will prepare a final draft and send it to the government for consideration.”

Tripathi added that the Adityanath-led administration had not asked the law panel for the draft of the bill.

During the release of the state’s policies on population control, Adityanath said that the proposed steps would not be restricted to a particular class or section of the society.

“We should not forget that population growth is directly proportional to poverty and illiteracy,” he said. “It will be difficult to achieve the goals of population stabilisation unless we run an awareness campaign for all sections of society. A population explosion can create obstacles in the development of the state and the country.”

Opposition criticises new policy

Uttar Pradesh’s Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said the new policy was introduced due to a “political agenda” ahead of the Assembly polls, reported PTI. “The RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] and BJP leaders talk about increasing the population,” he said. “Population control is a subject of the Centre. Yogi Adityanath is bringing the bill keeping in mind the UP Assembly elections.”

Samajwadi Party MP Shafiqur Rahman claimed that India would not have sufficient manpower during a war-like situation if there were efforts to control the control.

“Now, if entire India is not allowed to procreate and a situation arises that we have to face another country, from where [will] we get men?” he said, according to PTI. “This (draft population control bill) will prove to be a loss-making deal.”

Samajwadi Party leader Ashutosh Sinha said that the new legislation would be a “murder of democracy” and said the decision was immature.