The Assam government has become the 12th state to bring into effect a two-child policy for state government employees after passing its State Population Policy recently.
Under this policy, anyone who has more than two children cannot be elected or nominated to Panchayat and other local bodies’ elections or government jobs.
According to the report, Assam health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the service rules for state government employees will soon be changed to give effect to the two-child policy.
“In case any MLA from the state flouts the family planning norms, say MLAs having more than two children, he/she may be disqualified from hisher membership and be debarred from contesting polls,” read the policy.
The policy was drafted by the Health & Family Welfare Department and the state government keeping in mind the strain of the growing population on the natural resources and environment.
According to the 2011 Census, the population of Assam increased to 3.2 crores from 2.66 crore in 2001 and recorded a decadal growth of 17.07.
Although there was a decline in the decadal growth of population, the rate of increase is at an unsustainable level, the government stated.
The Population Policy draft is aligned with the country’s National Population Policy that aims at reducing or stabilising India’s population by 2045.
As per the latest World Population Prospects released by United Nations (revised in 2015), the estimated population of India will be 1419 million (approximately) by 2022, outpacing China as the world’s most populous nation.
Assam is not the only state that has implemented two-child policy to meet the national target. Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand have at some point implemented two-child policy for state government employees.
Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh later revoked their two-child policy laws.
Even though the goal of the policy is to provide access to quality education, healthcare and employment opportunities, the policy is criticised for its possible side-effects, similar to the ones China is facing now such as demographic changes following the implementation of one-child policy.