Rajya Sabha saw a discussion on a private member bill to control population for nearly two hours. The Bill seeks to disincentivize people with more than two children through lower subsidies, lower benefits under PDS etc. The Bill also incentivizes central government employees if they or their spouse undergoes sterilisation. The Member who moved the Bill for consideration acknowledged the declining Total Fertility Rate. However, he pointed out that 72 districts in the country have a TFR of 4.
During the debate, several Members opposed the bill on the grounds that it contained harsh provisions. Maternity benefits will be reduced after the second child under Clause 8 of the Bill. Members also said that the Bill would exclude the already marginalized and could worsen female infanticide.
One Member suggested that the most urgent task that the family planning program should take up is the expansion of the range and reach of contraceptives. The latest National Family Health Survey showed that there was 9.4% unmet need for contraception among married Indian women. The discussion did not conclude.
Before the debate on population control, more than 10 Private Bills were also introduced in the House. This included the Right to Health Bill, 2021, the Labour Codes (Repeal) Bill, 2021 and the Council on Climate Change Bill, 2021.
During Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, the Agriculture Minister informed the House that the Committee to study MSP will be constituted after the upcoming state elections. The decision to legalize MSP will be made following the recommendations of this Committee.
Proceedings in Lok Sabha were ongoing at the time of uploading this post.
Numbers to note
In the Budget announcement on Tuesday, the Finance Minister announced the government’s plan to issue e-passports to Indians this year. The Ministry of External Affairs informed Lok Sabha today that the India Security Press, Nashik has issued letters of intent for the procurement of 4.5 crore ICAO-compliant electronic chips along with its operating system for e-passports.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry informed Rajya Sabha that a total of 36.191MT of firecrackers were exported to Poland worth ₹134.54 Lakh till January 25 in the current financial year. In 2018-19, about 150 MT firecrackers were exported to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at a total value of ₹ 39.5 lakh.