New Delhi: A private member bill has been introduced in the Rajya Sabha, proposing a constitutional amendment for the government to provide incentives in taxation, employment and education for population control.
Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai moved the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020 on 7 February, proposing to insert Article 47A into the Constitution of India.
According to the bill, Article 47A would read: “The State shall promote small family norms by offering incentives in taxes, employment, education etc. to its people who keep their family limited to two children and shall withdraw every concession from and deprive such incentives to those not adhering to small family norm, to keep the growing population under control.”
If the bill is passed, the provision would be included in the section of the Indian Constitution containing Directive Principles of State Policies, which function as the basic principles or guidelines for the government to formulate laws and policies.
The ‘Statement of objects and reasons’ of the bill calls it “really frightening” that the country’s population has crossed over 125 crore, and asserts that the central and state governments should launch schemes to tackle it.
To this end, it highlights the need to encourage people to have smaller families, by offering tax concessions, priority in social benefit schemes and school admissions etc. It also talks about penalties like withdrawal of tax concessions and imposition of heavy taxes, to discourage people who don’t adhere to the population control measures.
Not the first time
This isn’t the first time that a population control measure is being demanded through a legislative change. In 2016, BJP MP Prahlad Singh Patel had also tabled a private member bill on population control. However, it did not reach the stage of voting.
In July 2019, another BJP MP, Rakesh Sinha, tabled the Population Regulation Bill in the Rajya Sabha as a private member bill, which proposed to penalise people for having more than two children.
This bill stipulated over a dozen incentives for families to stick to two children, including income tax rebates and free health care for parents, subsidies and loans for plots and houses. It sought to offer free healthcare and education if families have only one child. It also had penalties such as higher interest on loans and debarment from contesting elections to Parliament. The bill is currently pending before the House.