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Assam CM''s comment asking minorities for family planning

Assam CM''s comment asking minorities for family planning
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+0530
misleading: opposition

Guwahati, Jun 11 (PTI) The opposition Congress and

AIUDF along with a minority student body on Friday termed

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma''s statement asking

the minority community to adopt a decent family planning

policy as "unfortunate, frivolous and misleading".

Referring to recent evictions of a number of families

from "encroached land" in three districts of the state, the

chief minister on Thursday had urged the minority community to

adopt the policy saying that increased population leads to

poverty, shrinking of living space and consequent land

encroachment.

The state Congress claimed that Sarma''s remarks on

"population explosion" in Assam are "certainly misinformed and

misleading", while the All India United Democratic Front

(AIUDF) claimed that the rate of increase in population among

some other communities is higher than that of the minorities.

The All Assam Minority Students'' Union (AAMSU) said

that the population problem can be resolved by ensuring proper

education and health facilities for the people.

According to the 2011 Census, Muslims comprise 34.22

per cent of Assam''s total population of 3.12 crore and they

are

in majority in several districts. While Christians form

3.74

per cent of the total number of people in the state, the

percentage of Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains is much less than

one

per cent.

The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) said that

this is highly unbecoming of a chief minister who is expected

to be well versed in the demographic facts of his state.

As per the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS)

undertaken by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

and released in December 2020, the total fertility rate (TFR)

across most Indian states have declined in the last five

years, APCC spokesperson Bobbeeta Sarma said.

According to the NHFS, the fertility rate of women in Assam

has declined from 2.2 in 2015-16 to 1.9 in 2020-21, which

means the future population of the state will be less than

what it is now and there is no question of its increase, she

said.

"If, however, the chief minister is referring to the

population explosion that may happen in future due to

immigration of people from Bangladesh and Pakistan because of

implementation of CAA, then perhaps his concern is valid,"

Sharma said.

The Congress, however, would like to assure Sarma that

the party will take definite steps in that case and do its

best to prevent such encroachments, she added.

The AIUDF, an alliance partner of the Congress, also

termed the chief minister''s statement targetting only the

minorities responsible for population explosion as

"unfortunate and not proper for a person holding that post".

Population increase in Assam is lower than the

national growth and it is also less compared to some other

states, AIUDF spokesperson and MLA Aminul Islam said.

Studies have shown that the rate of growth of many

scheduled castes and tribes is higher than that of the

minority community, he claimed.

Besides, social scientists have pointed out that

poverty, illiteracy, lack of awareness were mainly responsible

for population increase and the state government should focus

on these issues instead of targetting a particular community,

he said.

"The people of the community have already supported

the government in the case of the two-child norm for election

to panchayats and in government jobs," he pointed out.

The chief minister must take all communities into

confidence to solve the problem of population and this can be

only done if the government takes measures to ensure education

facilities, employment opportunities and create social

awareness in the ''char'' or riverine and other backward areas,

Islam added,

AAMSU president Rejaul Islam Sarkar said that the

chief minister''s statement that minority women have to be

educated so that they do not give birth to many children lacks

sincerity and is frivolous.

"We have been working to create awareness among the

community members for the last five years and nowadays nobody

gives birth to 10 to 12 children. The population problem can

be resolved by ensuring proper education and health

facilities," he said.

Sarma had earlier served as the education minister and

"if he really had the intention to solve the issue and ensure

development, he could have initiated measures to remove

illiteracy and poverty", Sarkar said.

The AMSU chief said that the chief minister should

also focus on providing land to more than 30,000 people who

have been rendered homeless by erosion caused by the

Brahmaputra river.

"If people are provided with land, they will not be

forced to encroach temple, forest or any other land to be

later again evicted from there. Nobody is in favour of

encroachment but they must have land and a home to live in",

he added. PTI DG

NN NN


Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

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