NEW DELHI, July 10 (Reuters) – India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, has proposed legislation to discourage couples from having more than two children, becoming the second state to be led by the Prime Minister’s party. Minister Narendra Modi to make such a proposal.
If Uttar Pradesh were a country, its 240 million people would make it the fifth most populous in the world, and the population density in the northern state is more than double the national average.
Under state government proposals unveiled on Saturday, couples with more than two children would not be allowed to receive government benefits or grants and would not be allowed to apply for jobs in the state government .
The bill says that because of the “limited ecological and economic resources of the state, it is necessary and urgent that the provision of the basic necessities of human life be accessible to all citizens.”
Per capita income in Uttar Pradesh is less than half of the national average.
The bill, which is open for public comment until July, is expected to be ratified by state lawmakers.
India, which is expected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2027, does not have a national two-child policy.
The northeastern state of Assam, which is also led by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Hindu nationalist party, last month announced plans for a similar measure that would deprive families with more than two children of government benefits.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the proposal was in part aimed at controlling the population growth of Bengali-speaking Muslims in the state who have their origins in neighboring Bangladesh.
Uttar Pradesh, ruled by hardline Hindu Yogi Adityanath, is also home to a large Muslim population.
The state bill includes incentives for couples with two children if one chooses voluntary sterilization, including subsidized loans for building or buying houses and discounts on bills. utilities and property taxes.
Reporting by Aftab Ahmed and Krishna Das Editing by Helen Popper
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