Amid a clamour for a law by the BJP to control population, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said that educating and empowering women is his way to control "demographic explosion". Speaking to reporters in Patna on Tuesday, Kumar said that a woman who is educated feels empowered to take decisions.
“Our experience in Bihar speaks for itself. There has been a notable rise in the proportion of women who complete high school or pursue higher studies. There has been a corresponding decline in fertility rate,” he said.
"We had observed long ago that in families where the wife has studied beyond high school, the fertility rate was healthier. We have therefore given a fillip to educating the girl child. This is going to be our way forward," Kumar said,
The Chief Minister, however, declined to comment on what other states are doing. Notably, some BJP MLAs in the state Legislative Assembly have raised the recommendations of the Karunakaran Committee, which favoured debarring those with more than two children from contesting municipal and panchayat polls, be implemented in Bihar.
Earlier, a categorical demand from state BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal that Bihar too should have a population control law, shortly after the Chief Minister had come out with his different take on the issue, had exposed the ideological differences between the BJP and the JD(U). Although Kumar, whose party was earlier known as the Samata Party, has been a BJP ally for close to three decades, he has maintained an ideologically distinct position on the saffron party’s pet issues like Ayodhya, Article 370 and Uniform Civil Code.
Recently, his stance on population law, caste census and Pegasus controversy was viewed with some consternation in the BJP camp. The JD(U) maintains that this has nothing to do with the close ties it shares with the BJP. Kumar’s detractors, however, claim otherwise.