By D.K. SINGH
New Delhi: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat Friday called for a National Register of Citizens (NRC) and a review of the population policy, pointing out “demographic imbalance” due to “vast differences” in the growth rate of different religions and infiltration in border areas.
“We should review the population policy. Ours is a country of youth… 56-57 per cent youth who will grow old. How many people can be fed? A population policy should be made thinking about the next 50 years and it should be applicable to all uniformly,” Bhagwat said in his annual Vijayadashmi address.
Citing a six-year-old resolution of the Sangh’s executive committee, the Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal (ABKM), the RSS chief said there were “vast differences” in the growth rates of different religious groups and illegal infiltration can be a threat to the unity and integrity of the country.
This resolution says the share of religions of “Bharatiya origin” — including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism and excluding Islam and Christianity — came down to 83.8 per cent in 2011 census from 88 per cent in 1951 while the Muslim population increased to 14.23 per cent from 9.8 per cent during that period.
The population policy of 2000 was envisaged to attain population stability by 2045 by bringing the total fertility rate (TFR) to 2.1. National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2005-06 and Census 2011 for 0-6 age group indicated that the TFR and child ratio was “uneven” across religions, according to the ABKM resolution. “This TFR target will have to be applied to all sections of the society uniformly,” Bhagwat said.
Bhagwat’s demand for an NRC — by dusting off the old ABKM’s resolution — has come about two years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarified there was no discussion in the government for a pan-India NRC, virtually rebutting Union home minister Amit Shah’s remark about the government’s intent to carry out the NRC process across India. In his Independence Day speech in 2019, PM Modi had spoken of the need for population control but there was no follow-up action.
Population Control Policy
The RSS sarsanghchalak’s focus on ‘demographic imbalance’ in his speech and demand for a new population policy has come at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Uttar Pradesh government is preparing to bring a new law on population control. UP government’s draft population control bill, unveiled in July, had triggered a controversy, with opposition politicians calling it ‘political fingerprinting’ to target Muslims.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said last month that the law on population control would be brought “at the right time.” In another poll-bound state, Uttarakhand, the BJP-led government has directed authorities to identify areas that are allegedly witnessing a spurt in the population of Muslims.
The ABKM resolution had also flagged concerns about ‘religious imbalance’ in northeastern states. In Arunachal Pradesh, for instance, people belonging to religions of Bharatiya origin came down to 67 per cent in 2011 from 99.21 per cent in 1951; in Manipur, it came down to 50 per cent from 80 per cent for the said period. The RSS’ executive body’s resolution had also expressed concern about an “unnatural spike” in the population of Christians in many districts of India, indicating an organised and targeted religious conversion.
It is, therefore, imperative that there should be a population policy that is uniformly applied to all sections of the society, said Bhagwat.
This story first appeared on theprint.in