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CENTRE SAYS PLEA SEEKING POPULATION CONTROL, STRICT 2-CHILD NORM DEVOID OF MERIT, MISCONCEIVED.          

Posted on, 22 December, 2020

The Central government has filed its affidavit in a plea filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay before the Supreme Court seeking population control and strict implementation of the two-children norm, calling the plea misconceived and devoid of merit. The Government through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has said it does not support the use of involuntary methods in family planning, as going by the other countries’ experience, coercing people to have a certain number of children may lead to demographic distortions. As public health is a state subject under the Constitution, the state government must lead the process of health sector reforms in a suitable and sustainable manner to protect the common individual from health hazards. According to the Centre, improvement in the health sector can be effectively led by the State government with effective monitoring and specific intervention to control and regulate the implementation process of the guidelines and schemes in a proper perspective. The Health Ministry merely acts as a facilitator for providing accessible and affordable healthcare through state-led reforms in the health sector and has no direct role in the implementation of the guidelines and schemes in the states.  The Central government has submitted that India has adopted a comprehensive and holistic National Population Policy 2000. The Family Welfare Programme in India is voluntary in nature which enables couples to decide the size of their family and adopt the family planning methods, best suited to them, according to their choice without any compulsion. The Centre’s programmatic interventions and their impact has begun to yield dividends with India knocking at the door of achieving replacement level fertility and making remarkable improvement in reducing maternal and child mortality.