New Delhi: The Government will not adopt
forcible measures to check population as had happened during
the Emergency days in the 1970s, Union Health Minister Ghulam
Nabi Azad said in the Lok Sabha today.
"Once bitten twice shy," remarked Azad responding to
suggestions by JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav as also Yogi
Adityanath of BJP for adopting policies like those of Congress
leader Sanjay Gandhi to check population.
Noting that Government will not implement stringent laws
to deal with rising population, he said it will not also
impose "quotas" on officers on number of sterilisations and
also refrain from giving out incentives likes promotions.
Favouring "`fidayeen`-like zeal" to deal with the
challenge of population explosion with single-minded
attention, he said "We need fidayeen...not the ones who claim
lives but those who can spread awareness".
Replying to a motion in the Lok Sabha on population
stabilisation in the country, he said the Centre and the
states should get their act together to check the rising
population which is turning into a challenge.
Singling out Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, Azad said
the fertility rate in central Indian states was almost double
the desired level which was a matter of serious concern.
The rate of population growth, particularly in states
like UP and MP, was a matter of "serious concern" as it had an
adverse impact on the available national resources, Azad said.
The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in central Indian states,
including Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, was almost
double of the desired level.
A highlight of the discussion was suggestions from
members like Supriya Sule (NCP), Paramjit Kaur (SAD), Hukum
Dev Narain Yadav (BJP) and Pratprao Jadhav (SS) that those
with more than two children should not be allowed to contest
elections to assembly and Parliament.
Earlier, moving the motion, the minister said, the TFR
in these states stood at an average of 3.8, which was
virtually close to twice the desired rate of 2.1.
"Central India is a matter of serious concern for us. We
need to change this trend. There has been no change in the TFR
there and it is unfortunate," he said.
The TFR is calculated as the average number of children
of a couple in their life time.
"We talk about rising costs of essential commodities,
inflation....all these are a direct result of increasing
population and limited availability of resources in the
country," he added.
The minister said that the Population Stabilisation
Policy was introduced in 2000 under the Prime Ministership of
Atal Bihari Vajyapee and under which the government had set a
target of achieving 2.1 TFR before 2010.
It was estimated that if this rate of TFR was achieved
in the first decade, the population of the country would
stabilise by 2045.
Government projections show that India`s burgeoning
population has seen a five-fold increase over the last 100
years and will surpass that of China by 2050.