BJP hands out ‘half-truths’ on Bihar population control: JD(U) chief

The ruling JD(U) in Bihar does not seem aligned with the BJP ally’s stance on population control.

Days after Bihar BJP leader Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal suggested that the state government led by JD(U) should reward those with only two children to control the population of the state; the JD(U) alleged that the BJP was misleading the masses on the issue, according to a report in The Indian Express.

“The BJP has exposed half truths about the people of Bihar,” JD(U)MLC Neeraj Kumar told the newspaper.

Jaiswal had suggested providing a free 25kg ration and Ayushman health cards as an incentive to all who have only two children. Earlier, the head of JD(U) and Chief State Minister Nitish Kumar rejected the Centre’s plan to introduce a population control law.

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Neeraj Kumar also reiterated the CM’s emphasis on “education and awareness” to bring down the population and asked the BJP to first answer why the party-led NDA rejected incitements to promote the two-child standard under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

“The government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee had set up a population control commission which recommended granting benefits to civil servants who had no more than two children. But the NDA government rejected the idea and gave preference to education,” Kumar told the publication.

He further said that the BJP was wrong to blame Muslims for the population growth citing the difference between the fertility rate of Muslims and Hindus, which “decreased from 1.10 in 1992 to 0.36 in the last health survey”.

“According to the National Family Health Survey, Bihar’s fertility rate in 2019-21 was 2.98 compared to 3.41 in 2015-16. But it is a fact that in 2019-21, the fertility rate fell the fastest in Bihar after Nagaland, at 0.43 against the national average of 0.20,” Kumar said.

He also rejected Jaiswal’s claims linking high population to Bihar’s backwardness and said, “To blame high population density for state backwardness is misleading. After all, Kerala has a higher population density than Bihar and it has managed to keep its fertility rate under control.