GUWAHATI, April 9 - The State Government has published a draft State Population Policy with an objective to incentivise parents with two or less number of children and thus facilitating a higher standard of living.
This was informed by State Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma while talking to media persons here today.
Hinting at some possible legislation changes, the Minister also opined that the policy also aims to disincentivise those with more than two children, which include rendering their participation in the government as State Government employees illegal, besides making them ineligible to contest in panchayat and municipal elections.
The government, in its draft policy, also proposes to make education of every girl child completely free up to university level, which would even include free transportation and hostel accommodation.
The government has also invited public opinion on the draft policy which could be sent at [email protected] yahoo.com. The last date of submitting comments and observations is July 15 next.
�It is also being contemplated whether the minimum age limit for a girl to get married should be increased from the existing 18 years so that a girl is better placed to take a call on reproductive health issue,� the Minister said, adding that the idea of increasing the reservation of women in government sector is also being explored.
�Disincentivising those who were married below the minimum prescribed age (child marriage) is another proposal we are seeking public opinion on,� he said.
�The idea is to transform the population control policy to a positive social reform from just a medical-led policy. Reducing Infant Mortality Rate and the Maternal Maternity Rate, reducing school dropouts, besides promoting informed choice and participation are some of the other goals we strive to achieve from the proposed population policy,� Sarma explained.
The Minister, while informing that the State population is estimated to have increased by nearly one crore since 2001, stated that the government will also set up a State Population Council along with a State Population Resource Centre to assess the emerging population pattern of the State.
The draft policy also strives to provide support to wards with elderly parents depending on their yearly income.
The draft population policy is expected to be tabled in the next Assembly session.