AFTER KASHMIR … Now, chimes of a Common Civil Code; PM sets the ball rolling in his I-Day speech

NEW DELHI: With the Modi government’s decisive step forward on Jammu and Kashmir having come to fruition, the BJP-led NDA dispensation is likely getting set for the next major step forward – Uniform Civil Code. Indications to this effect came from Prime Minister Modi himself, apart from other signs, that population explosion in the country should be tackled firmly with governmental measures. He stated so in the Independence Day address from Red Fort on Thursday.

India’s Family Planning campaign got a badly hit from the Emergency day excesses – like forced sterilizations in Delhi and adjoining Uttar Pradesh at the behest of Sanjay Gandhi – and thereafter it never revived to its original form. After Indira Gandhi, India was being led (as PM) by leaders who did not bother much for the nation’s future. Then came a visionary leader in the form of PM Modi. Meanwhile, India’s population crossed one billion and currently stood at a little less than 1.4billion. Feeding the multitudes is the biggest challenge the government is facing.

In between, a theory got spread that the more the population growth, the better, because the result would be a larger number of youths helping the productive sectors – much against the scenario in Europe and Japan, of an ageing population turning into a major economic burden while birth rates steadily reduced over the past few decades. Fewer youths are there to push the engines of growth. This population principle is characterised as a demographic dividend.

However, the negative side of this cannot be ignored. The more the birth rates today, they are bound to turn into the ageing group in another 50 or 60 years, creating a huge burden for the nation for the future.

Another dampener to the Family Planning drive undertaken by the governments in the 1960s and 1970s was the unwillingness on the part of Muslims to participate in the programme. They generally showed a tendency to produce many children, and send them to work at a young age rather than giving them education. If this scenario persisted, Muslims could in the long run outnumber Hindus in India. The RSS and the BJP are mindful of such obsessions on the part of the Muslims.

Notably, in the last Lok Sabha polls, Muslims made a united push to defeat PM Modi and the BJP, and backed the Congress to the hilt. A majority consolidation in favour of Modi and BJP was the final result of this Muslim obsession, which helped Modi. Muslims feels isolated after the polls, but PM Modi has taken things in his stride and asked BJP men to adopt an “all-inclusive policy”, as per his dictum for the first term, Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas. However, when it comes to implementing policies of the BJP, no allowances will be made, and Muslims too would have to fall in line alongside other communities, BJP sources say.

The RSS feels this now is the time. Modi with his oratorial skills and huge mass appeal can take matters forward. Another leader in future might not act as decisively as Modi can. They also note that Modi is capable of carrying the world leaders and global public opinion to his side — be it on Kashmir or any other matter. 

A uniform civil code could include new guidelines on social conduct. It could include laws and regulations vis-a-vis child births. The government can also bring in legislation to deny governmental benefits to those who produce more than two, or three, children. These are now in the realm of discussions, and it is likely that the Modi government would also act on the long-pending demand from Saffron groups for a Common Civil Code. IHN-NN

INDIA HERE AND NOW www.indiahereandnow.comemail:

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