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“Laws Won’t Help”: Nitish Kumar Counters BJP’s Population Control Push

'Laws Won't Help': Nitish Kumar Counters BJP's Population Control Push

Nitish Kumar said, “When women are educated, population growth rate will reduce”. (FILE)


As BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh and Assam push laws to control population, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bihar ally Nitish Kumar has once again publicly voiced his strong disagreement.

“States can do whatever they want. But I clearly believe that it is not possible to ensure population control with a law. Look at China or any other example,” Nitish Kumar told reporters on Monday.

According to the Chief Minister, it was a “Eureka moment” for his government when data showed that the more educated the women of the family, the lesser the fertility rate.

“When women are aware and educated, that is how the population growth rate will reduce,” Mr Kumar said.

“By 2040 the population will start falling. We’re going by this. If some people believe that this can be done by a law then that’s their thinking. Our thinking is clear on how we can do this. It’s not just about one community, but everybody will benefit if women are educated…See how much the fertility rate is reducing in Bihar now,” added the Chief Minister.

A senior BJP leader said by the same logic, Nitish Kumar banned liquor though a law but it is freely available – even for home delivery. “So he should practise what he preaches,” the leader sneered.

This adds to the stack of BJP policies that Nitish Kumar has been at odds with; past examples include the scrapping of Article 370 and the CAA-NRC (Citizenship Amendment Act).

Uttar Pradesh’s proposed law bars couples with more than two children from receiving government benefits or subsidies or even applying for state government jobs.

The Bill says it is necessary to control population as the state’s “limited ecological and economic resources” make it necessary and urgent that the provision of the basic necessities of human life are accessible to all citizen”.

Assam last month announced plans for a similar measure that would withhold government benefits from families with more than two children. The 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.