States should not put a limit on family size | Editorial HT – editorials
The idea of ”control” attracts our politicians. Therefore, it is not surprising that Uttar Pradesh (UP) is planning a new population policy to control numbers and deny welfare benefits to people with more than two children. Other states, such as Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, have also instituted plans to discourage people with more than two children, including a ban on entering state service and running for panchayat elections. But this is to deny people the right of choice regarding the size of their families. The national population policy does not contain incentives or disincentives and must be a template for the states. Disincentives will harm the poor and marginalized more. The preference for children has led, according to the Economic Survey 2018, 21 million unwanted girls. If a two-child rule is imposed, women will be more vulnerable to forced sterilization and sex selection. Instead of restrictions, the State must increase the scope of reversible contraceptive options and provide better health services to people.
The family planning program could be made more effective if it involved more men and also focused on men. In a patriarchal society, it is men who decide the size of the family. Most workers in the scope of family planning are women and find it difficult to talk with men about the need for contraception. If there were more male health workers, this could change. The southern states have been successful because they have focused on maternal and child health, which has resulted in healthier mothers and fewer pregnancies. States should make medical care accessible through primary health centers. The Center must undertake defense programs on the benefits of having a smaller family for the individual. The government should focus on caring for people, in which case the population will take care of itself, as the southern states show.