The Assam government looks set to implement a two-child policy eligible for government jobs and welfare schemes during next month’s budget session of the state assembly.
The state government is working on details of the policy and ways to enforce it but nothing has been finalised, said Pijush Hazarika, the state parliamentary affairs minister on Thursday.
Hazarika said a lot of things needed to be done on that move. The government was still thinking how it will be implemented in the state, he said. Though the government has used the two-child norm to filter out candidates for panchayat elections, extending it for government jobs and welfare schemes will need tweaking of policy, he said. But the finalisation of modalities are yet to be done,he added.
As per an amendment in 2018 to the Assam Panchayat 1994, the state currently has a two-child norm along with requirements of minimum educational qualifications and functional sanitary toilets for contesting panchayat polls.
Earlier, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that social menaces, like encroachment, can be solved if immigrant Muslims follow family planning norms and control their population. Sarma had added that if the population explosion continued unchecked, one day even the land of the Kamakhya temple will be encroached upon. He had said even his residence would be encroached upon.
Meanwhile, a coalition of civil society groups engaged in reproductive health has condemned the policy saying the government’s move to adopt a two-child policy will hurt the poorest besides hindering the development goals of the State.
The Advocating Reproductive Choices, the coalition of groups, suggested that instead of imposing stringent population control measures, it would be far more effective for the Assam government to focus on delaying the age of marriage, improving spacing between children, and ensuring girls stay in schools.
In other India news, the mass graves of Covid-19 victims in Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh are opening up as the water level is rising in the Ganga due to heavy rains.