Imphal: The opposition Congress and several other organisations, including the Indigenous People’s Association of Kangleipak (IPAK), have slammed the BJP-led Manipur government’s policy to discontinue government benefits to the family having more than four children.

The Manipur cabinet headed by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on October 13 decided to restrict the number of children to four in a family to be eligible for government jobs or benefits in various schemes.

The Council of Ministers in its meeting on Thursday approved establishing the Manipur State Population Commission.

Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee Vice-President, K. Tilotama said the Manipur cabinet’s decision to discontinue government benefits to the family having more than four children lacks sensibility and is unconstitutional.

“The BJP government’s decision was unclear and the circumstances leading to the government taking the decision are inconceivable,” she told reporters.

Tilotoma said the proposed policy would be a gross violation of the Right to Life and would deprive it of constitutional facilities and provisions.

The Manipur government might take the decision to control the spike in population growth, she said, urging the government to look into the unchecked infiltration of immigrants instead of focusing on how many children a parent has.

Civil society group IPAK termed the proposed policy as illogical and that it would pose a serious threat to indigenous communities whose demographic figure would be reduced to a micro-level.

IPAK in a statement said India is the second most populated country in the world and is estimated to be the most populated by the next census report.

“In India, the ratio of the Meetei population is just 0.09 per cent which can be regarded as a “micro-minority community,” the group added.

In states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, the ratio of population in the country is quite high, hence taking up family planning policies for such states is acceptable but it is unreasonable to adopt such policy in Manipur, it said.

IPAK added while the state is facing a continuous decrease in the ethnic community, illegal immigrants are entering the state unabated.

So far, one-third of the total population of the state is shared by non-natives and amid this situation, taking the decision that limits families to just four children is unfortunate, it said.

“The association assumed the decision of the state cabinet as a hidden agenda to the extinct indigenous population of the state,” it asserted.

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