On Thursday, the Health and Family, Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the Assam government will recommend to the Centre about the disqualification of MLAs and MPs who do not adhere to the proposed two-child norm.
“The government of Assam will take up with the Centre that MLAs adhere to the family planning laws. The two-child norm will be proposed as a yardstick for any contestant to the state legislature,” Sarma said.
“In case any state MLA violates the norm, they may be disqualified and will be debarred from contesting polls in the future..”, he added. Recently, the Assam government outlined a policy that makes the two-child norm compulsory to follow so as to ensure population growth control. The norm also states that no person would be eligible for government benefits and engagements, including jobs if the proposed norm was violated. The policy, if violated also restricts a person from becoming a member of the panchayat and civic bodies.
“We uploaded the draft policy in the (state government) website in March and solicited public opinion. So far, we have received 88 emails, 600 suggestions through social networking sites and 37 articles and reviews through the media. Based on this, we have prepared a second and final draft of the population policy,” Sarma said, adding that the new policy is also being renamed as Draft Population and Women Empowerment Policy of Assam.
However, the two-child norm will be relaxed in the case of twins or triplets.
The minister said the government has also decided to review the legal framework for the protection of women’s rights.
“The government will review, enforce and change laws and practices discriminate against women. Stringent application of laws that prevent the underage marriage, the law against rape and domestic violence are also mooted.”
“In the interim period, such victims will be provided dependency allowance or pension. In case any women belonging to this category fail to get employment, they may be granted pension by the government,” the minister said.