Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member Anil Desai introduced a Private Member’s Bill in the Rajya Sabha last Friday. A Private Member’s Bill is a Bill introduced by a member of Parliament who is not a minister.
The Bill, called the Constitution Amendment Bill, proposes incentives in taxation, education and employment for people who limit their family size to two children.
The Bill has sought the incorporation of a new provision, Article 47A in Part IV of the Constitution, to withdraw all concessions from people who fail to adhere to the “small-family” norm.
Essentially, the Bill aims to amend the Constitution in order to incentivise limiting families to two children by offering tax concessions, priority in social benefit schemes and school admissions, among other things.
A politburo member of the CPI(ML) Liberation and secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) Kavita Krishnan Wednesday called the Bill “draconian” and made a reference to how it would impact women’s reproductive freedom.
“Between 2009 and 2012, fifteen women died every month due to botched sterilization operations in similar camps. The ‘population control’ Constitution Amendment bill is now likely to boost violence on women’s bodies, and shame poor women for bearing ‘too many children’,” she posted on Twitter.
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What does the Bill say?
The Bill proposes the insertion of Article 47A after Article 47 of the Constitution.
Article 47A says the following, “47A. 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.”
The Bill’s Statement of Object and Reasons states that the fact that India’s population has already crossed 125 crore is “really frightening”. It goes on to say that India’s population has doubled in the last 40 years and that it is expected to unseat China as the world’s most populous nation in the next couple of decades.
“Despite the fact that we have framed a National Population Control Policy, we are the second most populous country in the world,” it says.
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Further, the population explosion will cause “many problems” for our future generations, it says. To deal with this, it has proposed incentives for people to limit family size by withdrawing tax concessions, imposing heavy taxes and making other punitive provisions for violations.
The Bill also makes a reference to “overburdened” natural resources that are overexploited because of overpopulation.
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