The Assam government on Sunday announced a draft population policy which suggested denial of government jobs to people with more than two children and making education up to university level free for all girls in the state.
“This is a draft population policy. We have suggested that people having more than two children will not be eligible for any government jobs,” Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said at a press conference in Guwahati.
Any person getting a job after meeting this condition will have to maintain it till end of his service, he added.
“For employment generation schemes like giving tractors, offering homes and others government benefits, this two-children norm will be applicable. Besides, all elections such as panchayats, municipal bodies and autonomous councils held under the state election commission will also have this norm for candidates,” Sarma said.
Sarma, who is also the Education minister, said the policy also aims to give free education to all girls up to university level.
“We want to make all facilities free, including fees, transportation, books and mess dues in hostels. This step is also likely to arrest the school dropout rate,” he added.
Sarma further said the proposed population policy will seek to debate on increasing the legal age of marriage from 18 years for girls and 21 years for boys.
If anybody has child marriage then he will be ineligible for government job, the minister said.
The policy will also seek stringent laws to prevent violence and sexual abuse of women, he added.
“Besides, a proposal for providing incentives is also included for poor persons, who take care of their elderly parents. The policy will also care for the adolescents. We will work for public awareness and reach out through religious leaders, NGOs, parliamentarians and media in this regard,” Sarma said.
The policy proposes to set up a State Population Council and a State Population Research Centre, he added.
The minister also said he will consider including a provision for giving 50 per cent reservation to women in government jobs and elections.
“Till July, we will seek public suggestions. Then it will go to the Assembly for debate and adopting a resolution. We have to go step by step and we are in no hurry. This is the long-term thing that BJP had promised in the Vision Document,” Sarma said.
Service rules of 48 departments will have to be amended for adopting the proposed policy, he said, adding it will take at least three years and he will be happy if the policy takes the final shape by next Assembly polls in 2021.
“We want to move from primarily a medical-led policy to a socially responsible policy. We want to have a behavioural change and there will be policy incentives. Assam’s current population is 3.12 crore as per 2011 Census and it increased by one crore from 2001,” Sarma said.