Yoga guru Swami Ramdev has suggested that voting rights and state-funded benefits should be taken away from couples having more than two children. Speaking at an event in Aligarh on Wednesday, Swami Ramdev said, "in order to put a brake on the fast spiralling population, voting rights, admission to government-funded educational institutions, government jobs and treatment facilities in government hospitals, should be withdrawn from people having more than two children irrespective of religion, caste or economic status."
His remark has caused a controversy with some leaders from minority community questioning his motives. Population growth is undoubtedly at the root of most of our problems. No matter how many schools, colleges, hospitals and roads we build, they seem to be drops in the vast ocean of our nearly 130 crore population. Most of the political parties and their leaders realize this, but they do not dare to speak about curbing voting and welfare rights of couples who do not adhere to family planning norms. They clearly lack the political will and determination to arrest the growth of population.
One main reason could be the ghost of 1975 from the past. When the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi clamped Emergency, her son Sanjay Gandhi embarked on a massive sterilization drive to curb population growth. There were reports of coercion and forcible sterilization, and the Congress party had to face a rout in the 1977 Lok Sabha elections. No government at the Centre since then had the courage to implement a sterilization drive on that scale.
One should appreciate Swami Ramdev's concern over population explosion. It is the duty of all Indians to ensure that population growth stays strictly within limits, so that the fruits of growth can be shared equitably by all. If we fail to do this, we would be bequeathing to our future generations a country bursting at its seams. Let all of us put our heads together and ensure that the unmanageable growth in population be curbed.
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