Explained: Nitish Kumar Faces Backlash Over Family Planning Remarks

Bihar's Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has apologised after receiving flak for making derogatory remarks about women while talking about the importance of education in population control.

Tanya Savkoor
New Update
bihar cm nitish kumar derogatory women sex education

The CM's vulgar remarks also drew smiles from others present in the session. Photo: Screengrab

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's address on the role of women's education in population control had irked many netizens and Opposition leaders for the usage of suggestive language. The CM has now apologised and said, "I have always maintained that education is necessary for population control. I have also stood for women's empowerment and development... I self-condemn myself and take all the statements back.”


Nitish Kumar made the controversial statements while addressing the caste survey in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha on November 7, detailing the rise in female literacy. The CM had claimed, in graphic detail, that educated women know how not to get pregnant as they can restrain their husbands during sexual intercourse. He made analogies of women's education with the difference in fertility rates over the years saying, "Earlier the fertility rate was 4.3, but it has now reached 2.9. And, soon we will reach 2,"

What was wrong in Nitish Kumar's speech?

Aside from the use of what many deemed as vulgar language, Kumar's speech also exposes the gender bias in sex education in India. The Bihar CM's remarks that an educated woman would "know when to restrain her partner," suggests that the responsibility of controlling pregnancy is solely on the woman. He also went on to suggest that men's actions are certain to lead to more pregnancies, but an educated woman can control him, suggesting that males have no need for accountability.

In lieu of promoting the importance of consent, family planning, use of contraceptives, and practising safe sex, CM Kumar's remarks are suggestive of using unsafe methods of birth control. With several acts of sexual offences, perpetrated even by minors, coming to light every day, sex education has become an urgent need.


Sex education is no joking matter, especially in India, but the assembly at Bihar Vidhan Sabha seemed to have a good chuckle at the way the Chief Minister described the matter, with his use of exaggerated hand gestures and suggestive language. Even the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Tejashwi Yadav was seen laughing but later tried to paint it as "sex education" when the media questioned the CM.

Reactions from Women Leaders

The BJP Mahila Morcha held a protest in Delhi on November 8, condemning the Bihar CM's remarks.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) as well as Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) deemed Nitish Kumar's words as "egregiously insensitive" and demanded an apology from him. NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma said that his words lacked dignity and were deeply concerning.


The NCW minister then took to X (formerly Twitter) and tagged women leaders from the INDIAlliance and urged them to demand an apology from him.

Shiv Sena (UBT)'s Priyanka Chaturvedi however, responded to Sharma claiming the NCW has been silent in other instances when asked to come in support of women. This jibe led to an online argument between the women leaders.


Coming to the CM's Defence

Speaking to the media, Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav said, "It is wrong to misinterpret what the CM said. He was discussing sex education for population control, which people think of as a taboo, but it is even being taught to children in schools."

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sex education Bihar Nitish Kumar