Facebook Blogging

Edward Hugh has a lively and enjoyable Facebook community where he publishes frequent breaking news economics links and short updates. If you would like to receive these updates on a regular basis and join the debate please invite Edward as a friend by clicking the Facebook link at the top of the right sidebar.

Friday, November 07, 2003

The NYT addresses India's demographic issues

Amy Waldman writes about various state-level initiatives being considered to control the spiraling growth in population, especially in northern India.

India itself had recoiled against coercive policies — like China's — after the ruthless sterilization campaign under Indira Gandhi in the late 1970's.

But today, the national mood increasingly favors a tougher approach, and states, free to adopt their own policies, are experimenting. At least six have laws mandating a two-child norm for members of village councils, and some are extending it to civil servants as well. Some states have considered denying educational benefits to third children. States are also increasingly turning to incentives — pay raises, or access to land or housing — for government servants who choose sterilization after one or two children. Across some states in North India, local elected officials are increasingly obliged to mount explicit defenses of their decisions to procreate. The reason: laws limiting members of village councils, or panchayats, to two children, on the notion that they should provide models of restraint.

Of course, if one were to look at the success of the Kerala model, there certainly weren't any laws involved. The drop in the birth-rate was brought about by educating and empowering women. So, I am not sure how the Chinese approach will work within the context of a chaotic Indian democracy.

No comments: