If Politicians Incentivise Having More Kids, The Consequence Will Be Bad
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has asked couples in the state to have more than two kids. According to Hindustan Times, he even offered incentives to young couples who want to have more than two children and scrapped the rule that barred candidates with more than two children from contesting civic body elections. Naidu said the state has witnessed a drop in population by 1.6% in the last 10 years. “It is high time to correct the trends indicating demographic imbalances, lest the state may turn senile in the next two decades, marked by more eating mouths and less working hands,” the chief minister observed.
- Andhra Pradesh CM wants young couples in the state to have more than two kids.
- He has scrapped the rule that barred candidates with more than two children from contesting in civic body elections.
- In a country with high population density, birth and unemployment rate such a stance is worrisome.
- It doesn’t seem clever to bring millions of more children into a world where they will have to fight tooth and nail for every meal.
In a country with such high population density, birth and unemployment rate, it is worrisome that politicians are motivating couples to have more than two children.
It is indicative of a myopic vision, where a state is bigger than the nation. Where one is more worried about who would do chores and take care of those growing old. But what about the stress it will put on national resources? India boasts a birth rate of 2.33 births per woman, which is quite high, considering we stand at 1.3 billion people right now. If a state’s population is not growing at a satisfactory rate (as per the CM), it doesn’t mean that he can go around advocating overpopulation.
We are a world burdened with too many people and limited resources already. In terms of a nation, it is not as if every state fends for employment, agriculture and non-renewable resources for themselves. We share them and therein lies the problem. A baby boom in one state will have effects all over the country. We are struggling to generate jobs and the rate of unemployment has been on a steady rise. It doesn’t seem clever to bring millions of more children into a world where they will have to fight tooth and nail for every meal, let alone a job.
As a country, we are not in a position to advocate overpopulation and incentivising having more than two children is almost cruel to the next generation.
Besides, the burden of producing and rearing up children still falls mostly on women in our country. A small family size encourages women to take up work and be financially independent. Because they have lesser mouths to feed, couples are able to provide well and maintain better living standards. If we incentivise having more than two kids, women will be stuck at home caring and nurturing kids. They would be financially dependant on their partners. The burden of feeding the entire family and ensuring a comfortable future for kids will thus fall solely on the men in the families. It is a no-win situation for us, but to see that the Andhra CM needs to take off his political blinkers.
We all know that these days, most politicians make policies and statements keeping only their vote bank in mind. But they need to understand that the millennials are tired of this baby boom game. They want better prospects and easier lives. They are aware that even college degrees aren’t enough to ensure a steady paycheck today. Hence the possibility that they would end up with more mouths to feed and lesser hands to provide (in a completely different sense than what Naidu said) is frightening to them.
No one should be incentivised into producing more babies, especially in such uncertain times. Governments change every five years. But what Naidu is calling for may have repercussions for many generations. Surely, there are other ways to address his concerns, then putting the onus of sustenance of the state on young couples.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.