India Uncut

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Friday, April 22, 2005

So will the state control our wombs?

Pamela Philipose writes in the Indian Express:
The consequences of the Chinese model of authoritarian population control is already patent. It is based on four basic approaches: the setting of targets and quotas; bribes and punishments; organisational control; and promotional propaganda. It is a model that can be extremely effective, China demographer John Aird points out, in a “politically inert, uneducated, impoverished population” with “an established pattern of bureaucratic authoritarianism”. The stories of “over-quota” mothers being forcibly subjected to late abortions, of women locked up until they agree to a sterilisation, of workers keeping a tab on the menstrual cycles of female colleagues, are a legion from the land of the Middle Kingdom.

There is a new receptivity to such measures in India today.

Philipose's piece is written in response to a ridiculous new piece of legislation that the Maharashtra government has just pushed through, which would penalise farmers who have more than two children by charging them extra for irrigation water. The proposal originated not from some family planning ministry, but from the irrigation ministry. (By their logic a childless farmer should get water at a discount, but never mind that.)

What next, I wonder?
amit varma, 11:33 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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