Several BJP members are gearing up to push for a nationwide population control law through private member’s bills during the parliamentary monsoon session that begins next week.
Sources say the bills, which follow similar measures introduced in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Assam, could be tackled during this session.
BJP MPs like Rakesh Sinha and Anil Aggarwal are among those who have given notice to table population control related bills.
One of them could be taken up in the Rajya Sabha on August 6, sources say.
These efforts came under close scrutiny after the Uttar Pradesh government announced a population control bill on Saturday.
The bill states that those with more than two children should not receive special concessions or benefits and should be prohibited from using official benefits.
It also seeks to prohibit people with more than two children from running for local body elections, applying for government jobs and receiving any type of government subsidy.
The UP bill also bans promotions in government jobs for those with more than two children and offers incentives for those with one or two children but no more.
Opposition parties have accused the BJP government of trying to stir up controversy ahead of next year’s UP elections. Congress calls it the “policy agenda.” The Samajwadi party says it is the “killing of democracy” and some of its MPs claim it is a plot against Muslims.
In Assam, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has urged Muslims to cooperate in bringing down the population. He also teased a “big announcement” on voluntary sterilization and other population control measures during the assembly session starting this week.
BJP sources link the moves to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech on August 15, 2019, in which he expressed concern about the population explosion in the country. “India was the first country in the world to adopt family planning, a program for which was established in 1949. The first family planning program was launched in 1952. In 1977, the government introduced a new population policy.People have been given a chance to accept it voluntarily.Now we see that by 2024-25 India will leave China behind in terms of population.Population of India is 135 crore, while that of China is 142 crore. In terms of population, India will leave China behind in a few years,” he had said.
A Private Member’s Bill is introduced by Members of Parliament and not by the government, and serves primarily to draw attention to any subject matter that may require legislation.
The BJP does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha, which means any MP has to rely on friendly parties to push through a bill.
In India, only 14 private member’s bills became laws and after 1970 no such bills were passed.