Bill to punish people with more than two children introduced in Rajya Sabha
While‘Hum doh, Hamare doh’ has been the family planning programme’s slogan for over 40 years, a private member’s’bill seeks to punish people with more than two children
A private member’s Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha last week went un-noticed and undiscussed. The Bill seeks to punish families with more than two children by depriving them of social welfare benefits, tax exemptions etc.
The two-child norm is already there in the Panchayati Raj Act and the Supreme Court has upheld the provision in several states that debars women with more than two children from contesting and holding panchayat posts.
Tweeted researcher @vsirnate: “We have had an informal two-child policy for many years. But this one is basically saying that people with more than two kids will be punished through tax concession withdrawals and extra taxation.”
The introduction to the Bill states:
"Today, there is also a need to encourage the people to keep small family by offering tax concessions, priority in social benefit schemes and school admissions etc. and at the same time discourage them from producing more children by withdrawing tax concessions, imposing heavy taxes and by making other punitive provisions for violations.
Therefore, the Bill seeks to amend the Constitution with a view to make a provision by the State to discourage the people from increasing their family and encourage them to keep their family limited to two children.."
Presently, six states including Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have made the two-child norm mandatory for all panchayat members.
The governments of all these states insist that those with more than two living children are debarred from contesting panchayat elections or remaining in office. With the minimum age for contesting elections having been lowered from 26 to 21 years, this immediately affects lakhs of younger men and women within the reproductive age-group.
The passing of the 73rd constitutional amendment made it mandatory for 33% of all panchayat seats to be reserved for women. It also mandated quotas for socially marginalised sections including dalits and those belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes (SC/STs).
Nirmala Buch, who runs a Bhopal-based NGO, Mahila Chetna Manch (MCM), had pointed out in 2018 that 412 panchayat members in Rajasthan had been removed from their posts, over the past three years, because they failed to comply with the two-child norm.
Buch was quoted as saying then, "In Madhya Pradesh, 350 panchayat members have been removed and in Haryana the number of those removed is 275. In Madhya Pradesh, all those who were removed from their posts were tribals. They are not conversant with the laws of the land, but instead of encouraging them to join this process they are being forced to turn away."
Published: 12 Feb 2020, 10:52 AM