Hum Do Aur Hamare Do

The Two-child policy is a government-imposed limit of two children allowed per family. It is used for some population groups in China, has previously been used in Vietnam, and has lately been discussed in the Philippines. Although not by law, in the 1970s, citizens of Hong Kong were also highly encouraged to have two children as a limit, and it was used as part of the region’s family planning strategies. One country which has also started to adopt this child policy to control its high population is the world’s largest democracy: India.

Multiple states have adopted this policy by prohibiting people with more than two children from serving in the government. Seven states:  Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand have laws barring couples with more than two children from contesting local body elections. In 2017 this policy was adopted by the North Eastern state of Assam with those having more than two children would be ineligible for government jobs. Some states have repealed policies; the state of Chhattisgarh introduced a policy in 2001 and repealed it in 2005. On July 10th 2021, the state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, had announced draft legislation which would see anyone with more than two children denied state benefits, subsidies and government jobs. After a family has two children, there will also be incentives if one of the parents undergoes voluntary sterilisation. The state’s draft law includes incentives for two-child couples if one of them opts for voluntary sterilisation, including soft loans for construction or house purchases and rebates on utility bills and property taxes. The bill says that because of the state’s “limited ecological and economic resources at hand, it is necessary and urgent that the provision of the basic necessities of human life are accessible to all citizen”.

The implementation of a one-child policy will help to control the population. Not only will the policy help control head counts, but it will also provide advantages socially and economically. With reference to China’s one child policy, the plan of birth control could reduce India’s increasing unemployment. The fall in birth rate offers a demographic dividend, as the economically productive proportion of the population grows more rapidly than the general population. Without the rapid decrease in fertility, China’s economy would not have grown by 7-8% in a year. Thus, job opportunities would not be created for more people to be employed. With the decrease in population, competition among citizens was lowered and unemployment was alleviated. India needs such a change with the existing number of unemployed. Population control can also help reduce carbon emission in India and help alleviate climate change. India is among the top 5 countries with the highest carbon emission in the world. According to the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research, India ranks number 4 in the world in carbon emission, with up to 2.5 million carbon dioxide emission in 2015. The implementation of the policy will help to decrease emission. China is an example of avoiding excess carbon emission with the population control policy. From the one-child policy, China avoided around 300 million births, meaning she has averted 1.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2005 based on average world per capita emissions of 4.2 tonnes. From controlling population growth, this can help suppress the increasing carbon emission in India. As a result, would help slow down the exacerbating global warming and the consequences that come with it.

When diving deep however there may be some problems with this policy. People are quick to point out that India is a country with a booming technology industry, one that primarily relies on young people. There is a fear that restrictions on having children will produce a shortage of the educated young people needed to carry on India’s technological revolution. There are already well-documented problems with China’s one-child policy (1979-2015). Worst of all, there is a major gender imbalance resulting from a strong preference for the male child. Another criticism of two-child policies in India is that the laws violate women’s rights. Human rights activists argue that the laws discriminate against women right from birth by encouraging the abortion or infanticide of females. The two-child policies also create incentives for men to divorce their wives and abandon their families if they want to run for political office.

Every coin has two sides. Only time will tell if this policy will prove to be successful at combating the various issues which have arisen with India’s high population growth.

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