Assam govt to approach Centre to ensure MLAs adhere to family planning norms

Guwahati: The Assam government has revised its draft population policy and will take it up with the Centre to ensure that the MLAs adhere to the two-child family planning norm.

The Assam assembly will approve an amendment of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 for the purpose and recommend for Parliament to pass it, state Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Thursday.

As per the revised draft policy named 'Draft & Women Empowerment Policy of Assam' the two-child norm will be proposed as the yardstick for any contestant to the state legislature.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. PTI

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. PTI

"In case any MLA from the state flouts the family planning norms — that is MLAs having more than two children may be disqualified from his/her membership and be debarred from contesting polls in future," the revised policy said.

Candidates with not more than two children will only be eligible for the government employment, while the government servants will strictly follow norms of two children family to serve as roll model for society, Sarma told newsmen in Guwahati.

For population control, the government proposes to launch massive multi-media, door-to-door outreach, community meetings, educational campaigns including text book chapters on population control from class VII onward and medical counselling in aid of family planning, he said.

Elaborating on population growth in Assam, Sarma said against its decadal 17 per cent natural population growth 11 districts, including Kamrup (Metro) that comprises Guwahati city only, saw population growth from 18.34 per cent to 24.44 per cent as per the 2011 census.

The 11 districts are Dhubri, Morigaon, Goalpara, Darrang, Nagaon, Karimganj, Hailakandi, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Cachar and Kamrup(M).

With the 2011 census report stating Assam's population has increased to 3.12 crore from 2.66 crore in 2001, the state health and family welfare department prepared the draft policy to incentivise families to optimise their size and thus allowing them the freedom to aspire for higher standard of living, he said.

The revisions were made after the government solicited public reaction to the Draft Population Policy, which was uploaded in its website on March 27.

The government had received 80 emails, 600 reactions in the social media and 37 reports in mainstream on the policy.

The revised 'Draft & Women Empowerment Policy of Assam' quotes the UN Programme of Action on Population and Development that stresses on empowerment and autonomy of women and improvement of their political, social, economic and health status being necessary for the achievement of sustainable human development.

It points out the objectives of the policy is to improve the women's sense of self worth, their right to have and to determine choices, access to opportunities and resources, power to control their own lives both within and outside the home and their ability to influence their environment to create a more just social and economic order.

Sarma said the specific measures to promote women's empowerment would focus on girls' education by enacting legislations, pensions/schemes for widows/divorcees/single women to live with dignity and without economic persecution.

It would also focus on employment/pension for Muslim divorcee women, special packages for SC/ST and Tea Tribe and economically weaker section of women, besides legislations for adequate representation of women in elected bodies and to increase the reservation of women in eligible jobs up to 50 percent, he added.


Updated Date: May 05, 2017 08:09 AM

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