India’s Chinese-Inspired “Two Child Norm”

While China’s family planning policies have long been controversial, India’s “rights-based” approach has won international praise. At The Globe and Mail, however, Stephanie Nolan reports that the two systems are more similar than they may appear:

Beijing has been widely criticized for limiting families to only one child, but India has adopted many aspects of its policy. With 1.2 billion people and on course to overtake China as the planet’s most populous country in about a decade, India is taking steps many consider nearly as harsh – but cloaking them in the far more benign-sounding “two-child norm.”

[…] “We’re on the track to be just like China,” says Leena Uppal, an earnest activist who co-ordinates the National Coalition Against Two-Child Norm and Coercive Population Policies. “It’s entirely coercive – for the women, for the health worker, who will lose her job if she doesn’t bring in enough people. The whole focus is on closing off wombs, of making sure these women don’t have any more babies.”

[…] A.R. Nanda, who was once in charge of population policy for India and established its family planning department, says that not only is there a two-child policy, it was explicitly borrowed from China: “The idea of withholding benefits comes from China … ‘If China can do it.’” [Source]

Quartz’s Gwynn Guilford notes that 37% of all the world’s female sterilization procedures take place in India, where it is by far the most common method of contraception. See more on India’s family planning policies at Human Rights Watch and Bloomberg, and on China’s, including prospects for their reform, via CDT.


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