Bihar: Differences within the NDA over Modi government’s plan to bring a population control law

PATNA, 10 Jun: Differences seem to have surfaced within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in Bihar over the Centre’s plan to bring a law to control population with senior BJP leader and former state Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi maintaining that “those having two children or less should only be allowed to contest panchayat elections”.
In the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar, BJP is the principal alliance partner.
Earlier this week, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said a law on population control would not serve any purpose but insisted instead on education for girls and women, which he said would help bring down the fertility rate.
While interacting with reporters in Patna on Monday, the CM had said, “”Population control can only be achieved by educating women and girls. Only through education and awareness, the fertility rate can be checked. The fertility rate in Bihar has come down to 3 per cent from what it used to be earlier about 4 per cent. It all happened because of our consistent effort of educating women and girls in the state. I hope that it will further come down to two per cent in the next four-five years”.”
Nitish was reacting to Union Minister Prahlad Patel’s comment that the Centre was moving towards bringing a law to control the population.
Reacting to Kumar’s remarks, Sushil Kumar Modi conceded that promotion of education among girls over the last 15 years had resulted in the fertility rate dropping from 4 to 2.98 per cent.
However, Modi, in a statement issued here, said, “Only those having two children or less should henceforth be allowed to contest panchayat elections”.
He further suggested incentives and benefits linked to compliance would work better rather than enforcement.
“During the Emergency, forced sterilisation was adopted for population control. As a result of it, Congress suffered the ire of people during elections,” Modi said.
However, state BJP Chief Sanjay Jaiswal has a slightly different view compared to his party colleague Sushil Kumar Modi over the issue. (PTI)
In a social media post on Thursday, Jaiswal said awareness and women’s education couldn’t solve the problem (population growth) responsible for Bihar remaining a “fisaddi” (laggard).
“Bihar’s population density of 1,224 people per square km is nearly three times the national average of 464.
There is an urgent need for new schemes and incentives for population control in the state” he wrote. (PTI)