GUWAHATI: The Assam government has shut the doors on job seekers with more than two children.
The policy, aimed at checking population, will be in effect from January 1, 2021. The decision was made at a meeting of Sarbananda Sonowal Cabinet on Monday night.
The Chief Minister’s Office said people with more than two children would not be considered for government jobs effective from January 1, 2021. This is in line with the government’s small family norm.
The Assembly had passed the “Population and Women Empowerment Policy of Assam” in September 2017. One of its objectives was to promote vigorously the small family norm to achieve replacement levels of total fertility rate.
Assam’s average family size is 5.5, which is above the national average. Its maternal mortality ratio is the worst amongst all states at 300 as per the sample registration survey (SRS), 2013. The state’s infant mortality rate is also considerably high with 54 (SRS, 2013). In under-5 child mortality rate also, Assam tops the chart amongst the states with 73 per 1,000 births against the national average of 49 (SRS, 2013).
Although incidents of child marriage in the age group between 7 and 10 years are not prominent in the state, there are high incidences of marriage in the age group between 14 and 16 among girls and between 16 and 20 among boys. Incidents of such underage marriage are most common in river sandbar areas, tea belts and some tribal areas.
The Cabinet also took a decision on the adoption of a new land policy that will make the landless indigenous people eligible for 3 bighas (approx 43,200 sq ft) of land for farming and half a bigha for building a house. There is a condition though: A beneficiary can sell off the land only after 15 years of use.
The two-child policy is apparently aimed at minimizing the pressure on land and resources. As regards the policy on land, the government had made a commitment to provide land to the landless.