Bihar Alliance partners not on same page on population control law

Nitish Kumar said education of women and girls in the state is one of his government’s priorities


Differences appear to have surfaced within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of Bihar over the centre’s plan to pass a law to control the population. Senior BJP official and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said “those with two children or less should only be allowed to stand in panchayat elections.”

In the NDA government led by Nitish Kumar in Bihar, the BJP is the main alliance partner.

Earlier this week, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said a population control law would serve no purpose, but instead insisted on education for girls and women, which he said , would help to lower the fertility rate.

“Population control can only be achieved by educating women and girls. It is only through education and awareness that the fertility rate can be controlled. The fertility rate in Bihar has fallen to 3% from what it used to be around 4% It all happened because of our continued efforts to educate women and girls in the state.Hopefully this will further decrease to 2% over the next few years. next four to five years,” Kumar told reporters on Monday.

The Chief Minister was reacting to Union Minister Prahlad Patel’s comment that the center was moving towards passing a law to control the population.

Reacting to Mr. Kumar’s remarks, Sushil Kumar Modi acknowledged that the promotion of girls’ education over the past 15 years had reduced the fertility rate from 4 percent to 2.98 percent.

However, Mr Modi, in a later statement, said: “Only those with two or fewer children should now be allowed to stand for panchayat elections.”

He said compliance incentives and benefits would work better rather than enforcement.

“During the emergency, forced sterilization was adopted for population control. As a result, Congress suffered the wrath of the people in the elections,” Mr Modi said.

However, BJP Head of State Sanjay Jaiswal has a slightly different view than fellow party leader Sushil Kumar Modi on the matter. In a social media post on Thursday, Mr Jaiswal said raising awareness and educating women could not solve the problem (population growth) responsible for keeping Bihar a “fisaddi” (laggard).

“Bihar’s population density of 1,224 people per square kilometer is almost three times the national average of 464. There is an urgent need for new programs and incentives for population control in the state,” a- he writes.