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Resources key to check population

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  • Published 28.06.11

Patna, June 27: The government should try to ensure quality resources at the rural level rather than advocate contraception methods aimed at controlling population.

This was the view of experts at a workshop organised by non-government organisation (NGO) Hunger Project on “Rights of women in panchayati raj” at AN Sinha Institute of Social Sciences today.

Attended by around 50 female representatives of local bodies, issues like contraception methods, women’s rights and others were discussed at the workshop.

Abhijit Das, director, Centre for Health and Social Justice, an NGO, spoke on the issue of advocating couples to have only two children. “Forcing poor people to have two children cannot be a solution for population control. Eligible candidates for municipal body elections cannot have more than two children and the same is being now considered for panchayats. It is not right to start such programmes at the panchayat-level.”

Das added: “The government should not force families to go for contraception methods. The decision should be left to the couple. Instead of incorporating such laws, the government should ensure quality resources, like health and education, to the financially weaker section of people. If a woman is educated, she would not want more children so the state government should shift their priority from family welfare programmes to make the necessary resources available to them. After all a poor family wants more children only to increase manpower that would mean more money at home.”

Lakshmi Devi, a representative from Ramnath Dhamoli panchayat, Kanti block, asked how such a law is justified at the level of local bodies. “This is not a criterion for members of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. There, the representatives can have more than two children but it is banned for representatives in municipal bodies. When former chief minister Lalu Prasad started contesting Assembly elections nobody put this question before him,” she said.

As Das asked the female representatives on their awareness about contraception methods, hesitant answers came forth. Many representatives also said that several male members in their area often do not want to go for vasectomy as means for population control.