“HUM DO, HAMARE DO”: The Two-Child Policy


Poorvi Bhati, Indore Institute of Law

Smrithi Athreya, Christ University, Bangalore

Rhythm Jain, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun

Vaibhavi Chaturvedi, Amity University, Noida

Editor: Akanksha Chowdhury, Department of Law, Calcutta University

A Two-Child Policy is a government-imposed limit of two children allowed per family or the payment of government subsidies solely to the primary two children. During 1980s, "Hum Do Hamare Do" (We two, Ours Two), promoting the two-child policy was popularized through mass campaign. The National Health Policy was adopted. The National Population Policy came in 2000 with long-run objective of stabilizing population by 2045.

While there was no national two-child policy in India as of early 2020, there were local laws. These family planning laws are aimed toward politicians, both current and aspiring. Under the policy, people running in Panchayat (local government) elections can be disqualified if they have not respected the two-child policy. The idea behind the law is that ordinary citizens will look up to their local politicians and follow their family size example.

Some local governments have gone a step further. There are laws in some states that apply penalties to ordinary citizens for having more than two children. These disincentives include denying government rights to children born after the second child. They may also deny state-provided healthcare for mothers and children, including nutritional supplements for pregnant women. There may be imprisonment and fine for fathers. Penalties also include a general decrease in social services for large families and restrictions on government employment and promotions.[1]


India is a country with an increasing technology trade, one that depends on youngsters. There's a worry that restrictions on having youngsters can turn out a shortage of the educated youngsters required to hold on India’s industrial revolution.

There are already well-documented issues with China's one-child policy. Worst of all, there's a gender imbalance ensuing from a powerful preference for boys. Countless unregistered children were additionally born to parents who already had one kid. These issues may come to India with the implementation of a two-child policy.

· These issues additionally might arise within the case of India with the implementation of the two-child policy.

· Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in its declaration mentioned that the two-child policy as regressive and violating the principle of voluntary informed selection, human rights, and rights of the kid.

· The strict population control measure has led to an ageing population[2].

Most significantly, there's increasing proof that India's fertility is slowing right down to sustainable levels. In 2000, the fertility was still comparatively high at 3.3 children per woman. By 2016, the range had already fallen to 2.3 children[3]. Furthermore, India's economy was growing 6 June 1944 per annum within the years leading up to 2019, over enough to support modest growth[4].


A criticism of two-child policies in India is that the laws violate women's rights. Human rights activists argue that the laws discriminate against ladies right from birth by encouraging the abortion or infanticide of females. The two-child policies additionally produce incentives for men to divorce their wives and abandon their families if they need to endure political workplace.

Some critics also claim that two-child policies are a way to discriminate against Muslims. Since Muslims are more likely to have more than two children, they are also more likely to be barred from office. Muslim fertility rates are somewhat higher than Hindu fertility rates in India, which has created exaggerated fears that Muslims will take over the country.[5]


The population of India is growing and can still grow for the subsequent few decades. The rationale for the actual fact is that the higher proportion of individuals within the marriageable people who can produce youngsters.

Data shows that fertility rates are declining enormously as compared to the recent past. The common range of children that a lady is predicted to bear in her lifetime is termed TFR.

The National Family Health Survey knowledge shows that the country-level TFR in India is 2.23, that aren’t vastly on top of the specified level of 2.1. A TFR of about 2.1 is taken into account as replacement-level fertility if achieved; it'll lead the population to stabilize within the long-standing time.

In the case of India, Twenty states/Union Territories have achieved the replacement-level TFR, another 5 have gotten it below two.2, with the remaining eleven states having a better rate.

Data additionally indicate that these eleven states/Union Territories account for forty second of the country’s population; they're already showing a fall in their TFRs.

Looking at these statistics, there's no need to usher the policy like state has publicized to manage the population.


China is well known for having instituted a one-child policy back in 1979. While the policy was effective in stemming population growth, critics argue that the side effects have created many societal problems in China today. Below are many of the foremost frequently documented impacts of the policy on the health and rights of the population in India:

1. Women’s health and rights

Beneath the Two-Child Norm, incentives for permanent and semi-permanent contraceptive procedures have inflated. Policy-makers’ interest in dominant growth, whether or not through use of the Two-Child Norm or just through sterilization and promotion of semi-permanent types of birth control, will increase the chance of powerful sterilizations. In some instances, women aren't informed once they are sterilized or once they are planted with contraceptive technologies. In others, women present for sterilization so as to receive the incentive, and are met with medically inadequate and occasionally fatal sterilization procedures[6].

2. Inclined Sex magnitude relation

Feminine infanticide and sex selective abortions have additionally increased beneath the Two-Child Norm. Deeply rooted preference for sons in India, combined with government mandated limits to a family’s range of children have resulted in additional couples resorting to artificial means to attain their desired number of sons while adhering to the Two-Child Norm. Feminine fetuses are aborted usually by practitioners using strategies unsafe to the woman, when she is unable to access abortion services from credible establishments. This situation is additionally comparatively common, as abortions are solely legal in India for medical reasons as per the Medical Termination of pregnancy Act (MTPA)[7].

3. Family security

Family abandonment has increased dramatically beneath the policy as male suppliers decide to avoid the policy’s ramifications for the birth of a third kid. Increasing populations of ladies and youngsters are left in danger of abject economic condition and probably life threatening instability.

4. Social Consequences of ‘Two-child Policy’:

· Unsafe Abortions: A major proportion of rural ladies particularly those from lower socio-economic strata, would be forced to travel for unsafe abortions owing to problems with access and affordability.

· Gender Imbalances: Social control of such policies can produce gender imbalances and can also produce mental subordination towards ladies.

· Negative Population Growth: By interfering with the birth rate, India faces a future with severe negative growth, a heavy drawback that the majority developed countries are attempting to reverse.

Apart from this, alternative consequences are as follows:

· Desertion and bigamy

· Neglect and death of feminine infant

· Cases of pre-natal sex determination

· Induced abortion of the female fetus


The Two-Child Norm is utilized in India as an instrument to stem population growth, and is found in both family arranging programs and government policy. Lately, a developing number of studies reporting the unfavorable impacts of Two-Child Norm arrangements have risen, focusing on the effects of the approach on town level government delegates of the Panchayati Raj. These studies have documented the adverse impact of the policy on the wellbeing and security of families, exhibiting an improved probability for fathers to relinquish their families as a way to evade the negative repercussions of the policy.

Many Indian local governments, perhaps inspired by China’s one-child policy, have created laws that apply penalties for having more than two children. The laws are heavily criticized in India and abroad. While they are less severe than China's one-child policy, the two-child laws in India are still considered problematic and discriminatory.

As the National Family Health Survey[8] (2015-2016) demonstrates a direct link between family size and education, employment status, household wealth, and infant mortality rate. Therefore, the need of the hour is to improve socio-economic factors to promote reproductive health and reproductive rights. Population control policies must be understood beyond the fear of becoming the most populous country in the world. A punitive two-child policy can cause more problems than it intends to solve.

[1] The Hunger Project, "Nine Facts about 'Two-Child Norm", April 24, 2020, https://thp.org/files/Coalition%20fact%20sheet-%20final.pdf. [2] Economic survey for 2016-17 [3]https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN World Bank. "Fertility Rate, Total (Births Per Woman) [4]World Bank."GDP Per Capita Growth Annual %) – India, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.KD.ZG? [5]International Institute for Population Sciences. "National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-2016 India," Page 90. [6] Pandey, S, ed. Coercion Versus Empowerment. New Delhi: Human Rights Law Network. 2006. [7] India. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Act. New Delhi: Government of India. 2002. [8]http://rchiips.org/NFHS/factsheet_NFHS-4.shtml

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