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Previous Manifestos

Chapter 11


Our Population Policy


Making it a People's Movement
THE BJP views India's runaway population growth with all the concern it deserves. Expected to hit the one billion mark by the year 2001, India's population is set to overtake that of China unless the growth rate is checked and then reversed. The danger of a runaway population growth is there for all to see: A rapidly expanding population means a slower rate at which development can be effected. While India was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the need to control the growth of its population in order to ensure a better distribution of the fruits of development, successive Union Governments have failed in the implementation of this important programme. Excesses during the Emergency have given way to complacence and dangerous negligence. The BJP will put population-related issues, including family planning, firmly back on the national agenda. The BJP believes that the country's runaway population growth can be arrested and rolled back through increased awareness, facilitating access to family planning measures, persuasive Government policies and rapid development-it is an universally acknowledged fact that "development is the best contraceptive". But we realize that Government alone cannot fulfill this gigantic task. The Government's efforts must be supplemented by a vigorous people's movement. In addition, the BJP proposes to:

1. Formulate a National Population Policy by acting on the reports of the National Development Council and the Swaminathan Committee. This Policy will seek to bring the population growth close to stabilization by the year 2010;

2. Provide incentives to those who opt for the "two-child" norm and high incentives to those who embrace the "single-child" norm;

3. Take all measures for reducing infant mortality rates and improving child health;

4. Promote women's education, employment and empowerment since these can be effective means of population control as they will allow women a decisive role in regard to their reproductive health and family planning;

5. Introduce disincentives which will apply to all sections of society in order to discourage large, unsustainable families;

6. Ensure universal access to family planning information and quality contraceptive facilities by involving non-government organizations and promote awareness among the people, especially women, through counseling, educational programmes and widest use of modern multi-media capabilities;

7. Introduce family planning methods and facilities that will allow women greater freedom of choice without imperiling their health as well as support research relating to these methods;

8. Encourage women to seek reproductive health services as well as launch a special campaign to educate local communities about negative practices;

9. Offer a special incentive in the form of a fixed deposit that will mature in 21 years for those couples who have only a girl child or those who adopt a girl child under a "Dattak Putri Yojana";

10. Make family planning an integral part of our development policies to ensure widest applicability of these incentives and disincentives and provide motivation for a small family norm; and,

11. Ensure that the legal age of marriage is strictly implemented.