Context:- The government of Uttar Pradesh released a “Population Policy” on Sunday, in which the government stated its intention to bring the gross fertility rate in the State down from the existing 2.7 to 2.1 by 2026. To stabilize the population the government is considering the enactment of a new piece of legislation.
Currently the population of India is about 17% of the global population.
According to a United Nations report, India is expected to add 273 million people by the year 2050 and by the year 2027, India’s population is projected to surpass China’s which will make India the most populous nation in the world.
In India, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, and other hilly terrains have a lower density of population.
While the northern plains and coastal areas have very high population density.
Sex composition:- It refers to the number of females per 1000 males in a given area at a specified time period. In India sex ratio is 940.
Literacy composition:- According to census 2011, Literacy rate in India, which is a prerequisite to education and an instrument of empowerment. In India literacy level is 74.4%.
Working Population Composition:- The population of India according to their economic status is divided into three groups, namely; main workers, marginal workers, and non-workers.
National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 (2015-2016) data:
12% of married women in the 15-49 years of age bracket independently make decisions about their own healthcare.
63% decide in consultation with their spouse.
For 23% it is the spouse that mainly takes decisions about healthcare.
What are the main points in the UP legislation:-
Incentives to a couple:-
There are incentives to families that adhere to a two child norm
On the other hand it intends to disincentive the families that breach the norm from benefits and subsidies.
Population policy promises public servants who undergo sterilization and adopt a two child norm will have several benefits.
Two increments during their service
A subsidy towards the purchasing of a house
The maternity, or paternity leave which includes full salary and allowances for up to 12 months
Free health care and insurance coverage for the spouse.
What are the disincentives:-
A person who breaches the two child norm will be debarred from securing the benefit of any government sponsored welfare scheme or any kind of subsidy given by the government
A person who breaches the two child norm will be disqualified from applying to any State government job.
A person who breaches the two child norm and he is an existing government employee who infringes the rule will be denied the benefit of promotion.
A person who breaches the two child norm will be debarred from contesting elections to local authorities and bodies.
Let’s take a look on what is population, the factors which affects the population distribution, the international practices and associated issues with population:-
The term ‘Population Distribution’ refers to the manner in which people are spaced over the are under consideration and the term ’population density’ refers to the number of people living in per unit of area (such as a square kilometer).
Factors Influencing the Distribution of Population:-
Social and Cultural Factor
Water availability:- Population always resides in those areas where freshwater can be easily available, used for drinking, bathing and cooking, for cattle, crops, industries and navigation. For example, the Nile, Amazon, and Ganges river systems supported rich civilizations on their banks.
Landforms:- Humans prefer living on flat plains and gentle slopes. Flat plains favour the crops production and to build roads and industries. For example Gangatic plains.
Climate:- The Areas with very heavy rainfall or extreme and harsh climates will always have low population, for example Mediterranean regions.
Soils:- A Fertile soils are important for agricultural and allied activities. Therefore, areas with fertile loamy soils have dense populations. E.g. Northern plains of India.
Location:- If proximity to major towns and cities location then favours concentration of population.
Natural disasters:- It discourages population concentration. Frequent storms, earthquakes, floods, wildfires will discourage formation of settlements as people migrate to more safe places.
Minerals:- The Areas with mineral availability attract industries and therefore generate employment. Skilled and semi- skilled workers will migrate to these areas and make them densely populated. Example Katanga Zambia copper belt in Africa, Higher population densities in the Chota Nagpur Plateau.
Urbanization:- Cities which offer better employment opportunities, educational and medical facilities, better means of transport and communication and good civic amenities will attract more population.
Transport:- It is a means of communication from one place to another place. The growth of the population in any area is directly proportional to the development of transport facilities and connectivity. For example in India the northern plain of India has a dense network of transport routes and is a densely populated region.
Industrialization:- An industrialized are provides job opportunities and attracts large numbers of people. Example the Kobe-Osaka region of Japan.
Economic activity:- Economic activity is an indicator of employment opportunities. People in the rural areas are largely dependent on agriculture but in Urban settlements they depend on industries. If the land fails to support the rural population, or with more opportunities available in urban areas, people will migrate to cities.
Social Organization:- New areas encourage the movement of people and settlement if found new opportunity. Man is a social animal and it becomes essential for him to form a community
Migration:- Migration has a deep influence on population distribution. There are push factors, or negative circumstances, at the place of origin that tend to motivate people to leave their native places to newer areas. Better opportunities at other places also encourage migration.
Natural increase in population:- Net outcome of fertility and mortality in a region will either increase or decrease . If in a region, the fertility level is high, the population of that place tends to increase. In such situations, mortality brings stability because of deaths. Epidemics and disease have always significantly influenced mortality levels.
War torn areas and political conflicts take a great toll on human lives. Death rates are high, and people are forced to move out in search of safety. Mortality rates will be at peak and out-migration dominates.
Why Is this Bill not a way forward:-
Central government filed an affidavit in supreme court where it argued that “international experience shows that any coercion to have a certain number of children is counter productive and leads to demographic distortions”.
Suchita Srivastava & Anr vs Chandigarh Administration (2009 supreme Court found that a woman’s freedom to make reproductive decisions is an integral facet of the right to personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21. So we can say that this bill is violative of fundamental rights enshrined in our constitution.
In K.S. Puttaswamy vs Union of India (2017) judgement which is popularly known as right to privacy case, where extension of right to privacy also extends to right to reproduction.
According to the supreme court, this bill fails the doctrine of proportionality.
U.P.’s draft law if enacted will grossly impinge on the right to reproductive freedom.
India’s skewed sex ratio may be compounded by families when the will abort a daughter in the hope of having a son with a view to conforming to the twoc hild norm.
It will further strengthen the patriarchy in society and there by subjugation of women further.
The law will also proliferate the sterilization camps.
The Supreme Court in Devika Biswas vs Union of India (2016) has said that these camps invariably have a disparate impact on minorities and other vulnerable groups.