ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Demography, Democracy and Population Policies

Uttar Pradesh’s proposed bill to enforce a “two-child norm” tries to link state government jobs, local government positions and welfare to the two-child norm through a series of incentives and disincentives. With the communally tinged rhetoric around this bill gaining currency, it is necessary to revisit the Supreme Court’s controversial judgment in Javed v State of Haryana (2003) where such problematic provisions relating to panchayat elections were upheld.


The Uttar Pradesh (UP) Population (Control, Stabillisation and Welfare) Bill, 2021 was recently made public by the UP State Law Commission with a view to seek public comments (Upadhyay 2021). The bill which intends to enforce a two-child norm across UP seeks to do so through a mixture of incentives and disincentives which relate to public employment with the state, eligibility to contest local body elections and entitlement to welfare benefits and subsidies from the state.

The justification for the bill harks back to debunked Malthusian notions of limited resources and population explosion (Saran 2021). While it is no doubt true that India is the second most populated nation on earth and UP the most populated state, over the last two decades, population growth has been slowing down on its own in India, largely as a result of improved access to healthcare, women’s education and increased economic opportunities. From the National Family Health Survey, it is evident that even in UP, the total fertility rate has fallen from 4.06 in 1988–89 to 2.7 in 2015–16, suggesting that even prior to measures such as this, the state’s population growth was slowing down, thanks to increased female literacy rates, contraception, etc (Singh 2021).

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Updated On : 25th Jul, 2021
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