Should India have a two-child policy?

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India starting from its early years of independence has been concerned about population control. India, four years after its independence was the first country in the world to adopt a national policy for birth control. The policy tried to raise awareness about the contraceptive and the benefits of having fewer children. But, despite being the initiator, India is expected to overtake China in 2034. At the time of independence there were 345 million Indians. The world took 454 years to go from 345 million in 1310 AD to a billion; India took just 52 years.

Seeing that the past policy measures haven’t worked out, many in India have discussed having a compulsory two child policy, like China. In 2016, there was a bill proposed by Prahalad Singh Patel to implement a two-child policy. In 2018, nearly 125 lawmakers in India’s Parliament signed a petition to President Ram Nath Kovind, calling for a nationwide two-child policy. In November 2019, Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan said that the government is in the process of formulating a population control law. All the political movement surrounding two child policy, should not deter people away from the practicality.

 If we were to mimic China then we must know the negative consequences that happened as a result of forced birth control. In China, the sex ratio was to a great degree unfavourable to girls as due to the desires of male child, female infants were killed. The chances of female infanticide on account of two child policy is much more than what happened in China. In China, the one child policy did not mean that the birth of second child was prevented but, that the second child was not recognised as a legal person. Thus, there is large group of people in China living without an identity merely on account of their birth order.  A two-child policy will also negatively impact the demography of our nation and in years to come, there will be a declining working population.  

There are some positive aspects of two child policy as well. It will reduce carbon emissions; it will reduce the pressure on infrastructure and food. However, the negatives are far greater than positives. The correct pathway for India to follow would be improve the pre-existing policies that promote people to have not more than two children. It is better to foster two child policy than to force it.