NEW DELHI: Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Saturday slammed the Uttar Pradesh government’s proposed population control measures, claiming it is nothing but BJP’s attempt to polarise society and keep the communal agenda alive during the assembly polls.
He alleged that the BJP is best at hiding its failures and raising non-issues ahead of every election.
The former union minister also raised concerns on population control measures in the country and said India will have to prepare for an ageing population and not a growing population by 2031.
“This is nothing but BJPs attempt to polarise society and keep the communal agenda alive during UP assembly polls.”
“This is yet another attempt to whip up communal passions and prejudices,” Ramesh told PTI.
He said the Modi Government’s own Economic Survey for the year 2018-19 comprehensively challenges and debunks the assumptions and motivations behind bills on population control measures.
Incidentally, there have been 28 such bills since 2000, he noted.
Several BJP MPs propose to bring private member bills on population control in the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament.
The senior Congress leader said India’s total fertility rate has fallen very dramatically even without the type of measures being proposed in the bills.
Ramesh also shared a thread on the population control debate on Twitter, raising concerns over India’s ageing population.
He said some states have already gone below the replacement level of 2.1 fertility rates.
“The crucial tipping point in demography is when replacement level of fertility reaches 2.1. Subsequently, after a generation or two, the population will stabilise or begin to decline. Kerala was first in 1988, followed by Tamil Nadu five years later.”
“By now, a large majority of Indian states have achieved replacement levels of fertility. By 2026, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh will also do so with Bihar being the last by 2030,” he said.
“I wonder how many in the BJP are aware of the basic facts that Modi Sarkar’s own 2018-19 Economic Survey had presented in Parliament in July 2019,” he said, sharing the survey in a tweet.
“The graph shows India is set to witness a sharp slowdown in population growth in the next two decades,” he said sharing the image where total fertility rates of states were falling below the replacement level fertility of 2.1.”
“By Modi Sarkar’s own estimate in the Economic Survey 2018-19, some states in India will have to prepare for an ageing population by 2031, not growing population.”
“This will be driven by existing policies to empower women, family planning programmes and socio-economic changes,” he said.
He noted that all this will become clear when one reads Volume 1 Chapter 7 of the 2018-19 Economic Survey and shared a copy of the same on Twitter.
The comments came days after Uttar Pradesh, where assembly polls are due next year, made public its draft population control bill and the Assam government proposed a policy on population control.
The Uttar Pradesh draft population bill contains provisions that seek to debar people having more than two children from the benefits of government schemes and proposes perks to those who follow the two-child policy.