The authors of this blog are Vidya Sagar Pandey, Graduated (LLB) from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (2018), Currently pursuing LL.M from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi and Kaushiki Trivedi graduated (LLB) from Banaras Hindu University (2018). Currently pursuing LL.M from National Law Institute University, Bhopal.
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on 07-02-2020. It was introduced to further amend the Constitution of India. The Bill was likely to be discussed when Parliament meets for the second half of the Budget session. This amendment bill is a private member bill that was introduced by Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai. A private member's bill is different from a government bill. A bill introduced by the Member of Parliament (MP) who isn’t a Minister, i.e. a non-government member is known as the Private Members’ bill. Members of Parliament other than ministers are private members. Private Members also can move legislative bills or proposals which he/she thinks are proper to be presented in the Statute Books. However, a private member can only give a maximum of three notices for the introduction of Private Member Bill during a Session.
The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution of India with a view to making provisions by the States to discourage the people from increasing the size of their family but to encourage them to keep their families limited to only two children. The Bill consists that the States shall promote small family norms by offering incentives in taxation, education, home loans, free healthcare, and better employment opportunities for people who limit their family size to two children and it shall withdraw every offer and incentives to those not adhering to the small family norm, to keep the growing population under control.
Purpose of the Bill
The purpose of the bill is to control the growth of the population of India. During Independence, India was still one of the most populous countries with 350 million people. It was the reason behind becoming the first developing country to start family planning or birth control programs in 1951. Since then, the population of the country has quadrupled, with 1.37 billion people in 2019. At present, India hosts 16 percent of the world-wide population with only 2.45 percent of the World surface area and 4 percent of the water resources. According to the World Population Prospects report, 2019 by the United Nations, the population of India is all set to overtake that of China within a decade.
Debate on population is inevitable in a country that may surpass the population of China, presently the most populous country. According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, The population of India will reach 1.5 billion by 2030 and hit 1.64 billion in 2050.
Features of the Bill
Insertion of Article 47A
A new provision Article 47A (Duty of the State to promote small family norm) was proposed to be incorporated in Part IV of the Constitution which deals with the Directive Principles of the State Policy.
“After article 47 of the Constitution, the following article shall be inserted, namely:—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 the concession from and deprive such incentives to those not adhering to the small family norm, to keep the growing population under control.’’
STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS
The fact that the population of India has already crossed over 125 crore is really frightening. The country has doubled its population only in forty years and is predicted to unseat China as the world's most populated country in the next couple of decades i.e. by the year 2050. As per the UN report, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan are those countries that have the highest rate of growth of population. The current yearly growth rate in India is 1.02 percent. The population density of the country is 416 people per square kilometer, which ranks 31st in the whole World. Despite the fact that we have framed a National Population Control Policy, we are the second-most populous country in the world. Population explosion may cause many problems for our future generations. For which we have to be concerned about the population explosion. The Centre as well as State Governments should launch schemes to tackle it. Our natural resources are extremely over-burdened. The rate of growth of any country is directly associated with the size of its population. Natural resources like air, water, land, woods, etc. will be subjected to overexploitation because of overpopulation. Today, there is a greater need to keep a robust check on the increase of population. Today, there is also a need to encourage the people to keep small families by offering tax concessions, priority in social benefit schemes and school admissions, etc. and at the same time discourage them from producing more children by withdrawing tax concessions, imposing heavy taxes and by making other punitive provisions for violations. Therefore, the Bill seeks to amend the Constitution with a view to making a provision by the State to discourage the people from increasing their family and encourage them to keep their family limited to the two children only.
The restricted child policy will create a shortage of educated young people needed to carry on India’s technological revolution. The problems like gender imbalance, undocumented children faced by China might be experienced by India. The birth rate in India is also slowing down to sustainable levels.
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020 is crucial in respect of population control in India. This is not the first time that population control measures are being demanded by legislative changes. In 2016, BJP MP had also tabled a private member bill on population control. However, it failed to reach the stage of voting. We really need population control measures and the proposed law calls for not more than two children. The impact of these measures would be better education opportunities, more facilities, less pollution, better wages, better healthcare, the low burden on taxpayers, less population with more resources, more expenditures on the betterment of lives could become a reality for many, more government benefits.