A Private Member's Bill was introduced for consideration in the Rajya Sabha in the first week of February 2020 in an ongoing parliamentary session. The Bill's main objective is to punish families with more than two children by ensuring deprivation of social welfare benefits, tax exemptions etc. This particular norm is already there in the Panchayti Raj Act, 1992.
The Bill's introduction states :"Today, there is also a need to encourage the people to keep small family 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."
Presently six states including Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have put forth the effort to make the two children norm mandatory for all panchayat members. The State Government of all the above-mentioned states have insisted that those who will have more than two children will be debarred from contesting themselves at the panchayat elections or will be removed from office.
A similar bill had been introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2019 by Rakesh Sinha that put forth the disqualification of people from being chosen as an MP, MLA or a member of any body of local self government if they are found to have more than two living children. This was the Population Regulation Bill of 2019.
The penalties included reduction in subsidies on loans and interest rates, reduction in benefits under the public distribution system and higher interest rates for availing loans from banks and financial institutions.
Author - Dyuti Pandya