No population control bill, health ministry warns | India News

NEW DELHI: Amid speculation that the government may be scrambling to pass a law to regulate the population, the health ministry has stressed that no such plan is forthcoming.
Sources said that Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya is strongly opposed to the idea of ​​regulating the population by force at a time when campaigns and awareness raising are yielding results and have led to a decline in figures, senior official sources said.
“We are not working on any proposals to pass a population control law or policy,” a senior health ministry official told TOI.
India’s total fertility rate (TFR) fell from 2.2 in 2015-16 to 2.0 in 2019-21 – indicating the average number of children per woman – which is lower than the level of fertility replacement of 2.1. The latest NFHS-5 data also shows that women of all religious communities are now giving birth to fewer children on average than in the past.
The Department of Health’s stance comes into its own following recent comments by Union Minister of State for Food Processing Prahlad Patel that there could soon be a Population Control Act. Patel’s remark sparked buzz over a change in position the government had taken in parliament this year where Mandaviya opposed the need for legislation given declining population growth. It grew when BJP leader JP Nadda recently said that discussions had taken place and the law-making process was taking time.
Asked about Nadda’s comment, Health Ministry officials declined to comment, saying they were unaware of the context in which he was speaking and; specifically, the question he answered. However, they felt that Nadda’s reference could be to the aspiration of the BJP governments in UP and Assam to have a population policy.
According to NFHS-5 data, while India has made significant progress in population control measures in recent times, there are large inter-regional variations with five states still not reaching replacement level fertility. of 2.1. Bihar (2.98), Meghalaya (2.91), Uttar Pradesh (2.35), Jharkhand (2.26) and Manipur (2.17) are the five states, according to the NFHS-5 conducted from 2019 to 21 .
In April this year, Mandaviya had strongly opposed a private member’s bill by BJP’s Rakesh Sinha in parliament, which sought to implement a two-child rule with penal provisions in case of violation in order to stabilize the population of the country.
Mandaviya had told Rajya Sabha that instead of using “force (jabran)”, the government had successfully used awareness and health campaigns to achieve population control. The bill was withdrawn following Mandaviya’s intervention.
Opposing the need for a population control law, Health Department officials say National Family Health Survey and census results indicate that population growth has declined over the years. years and that the government’s efforts are going in the right direction.