‘Have more kids, keep state young’, says Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu in push to avail population-based benefits
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu Friday offered incentives to couples willing to have more than two children. He also phased out the norm barring candidates with more than two children from contesting in the upcoming local bodies’ elections.
The move came in an apparent bid for the state to not be left out from certain population-based dividends to be extended by XV Finance Commission.
Hinting at introducing a policy to promote population, 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 while releasing a white paper on human resource development.
He said youth below 25 years constitute around 50% of the state’s total population, and emphasised on the need to keep the state young by way of pushing up the representation of young people.
The implementation of family planning measures by the government was the reason for low birth rates leading to a drop in population growth, he added. Naidu said state government has been keeping a check on infant mortality rate, and has brought it down from 37 per 1,000 in 2014 to 10.51 per 1000 in 2018 through a slew of interventions.
According to 2011 census, Andhra Pradesh was the 10th most populated state in the country with a population of 8.46crore, before Telangana was bifurcated into a separate state in June 2004.
P. Devasena Naidu, a retired professor in Economics from Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati, shared the concerns of Naidu, batting for a course-correction on a war-footing. Southern states like Andhra Pradesh kept population growth under control by vigorously following population control measures envisaged by the Central government. But these states were penalised instead of being incentivised by the XV Finance Commission by offering grants to states with their status of population in 2011, Devasena Naidu said. The XIV Commission recommended devolution of funds with population in 1971 as the base.
“Andhra Pradesh continued to be a big consumer market with more number of working people by virtue of its demographic strengths. These virtues seem coming under threat now”, said Devasena Naidu.