Two-child or more: happy in Rajasthan

The two-child norm for state government employees, which ensured their career progression and financial promotion, has been done away with, finds out Rajasthan Post

Rajasthan has relaxed the two-child norm for state government employees, which will make them eligible for financial promotion. The ban on Assured Career Promotion ( ACP) was in place since 2002.  

The two-child norm is one of India’s family-size control policies, which encourages parents to limit their families to two children and creates disadvantages for couples with more than two children.

The finance department has come out with an order stating that employees with more than two children would also be eligible for ACP after 5 years. Earlier those with two more than two children were not eligible for ACP throughout their career.

Under Rule 19 of the Rajasthan Civil Services (Revised Pay) rules, the state government introduced the scheme of ACP for all posts, which made the employees eligible for three financial upgradations in their entire career.  The first financial upgradation comes after nine years of continuous service in the same grade pay. Thereafter the second upgradation is after 18 years and then 27 years.

Siddharth Mahajan, special secretary, finance Budget said the decision has been taken in keeping with the demands of the employees, who were keen for the review of the order.  

But many say the decision has been taken because the employees were in any getting promoted through departmental career promotions and the salaries were increasing accordingly.

Lokesh Kumar, posted at Sikrai, Dausa, who has pursued the case against the restriction for two child-norm, said : “How can promotion  of a state government employee be connected  to his family size. Size of family is an individual decision as per the National Population Policy. It cannot be enforced. How can we be punished for more than two children? We are not getting anything free from the government. If any facility is being given, then withdraw that particular facility if the third child comes in. In these days of price rise, everybody wants a small family and to give their family the best. But sometimes even the prevention method does not work well. Contraceptive methods fail and we pursue the case against the medical doctors and also have to face no financial progress in our career. This is unjus02tified.”

He added : “When we do not get promoted and financial incentives are withheld, we get demoralized as our colleagues with smaller family size, go ahead of us.”

In Rajasthan, persons with more than two child are stopped at the entry point of applying for government services. A proposal is also underway for relaxation in two-child norm in case of remarriage also.

The state government had stopped ACP after June 1, 2002 for those with more than two children, which had affected thousands of government employees. According to rough estimates more than  5,600 employees including senior officers were affected by the norm and wanted the policy reviewed.

The memorandum, brought out recently reads, “The appointing authority shall also obtain an affidavit from the employee with reference to having only two children on or after 01.06.2002, prior to granting an ACP (Assured Career Progression).   The employee having more than two children shall not be deemed to have been disqualified, so long as the number of children he/she has on 01.06.2002 does not increase.”

The new order actually relaxes the clause of total disqualification of ACP for employees with more than two children after June 2002.  But those with more than two children will have to wait five more years for ACP in comparison to those who have two or less children.

So ACP for those with two or more children would now take place after 14, 23 and 32 years.  

Rajasthan was the first state in the country to implement the two-child norm in 1992 barring   people with more than two children after 1994 from contesting panchayat and municipal elections. The ban was further extended to government employees with a cut-off date of June 2002.

Disadvantages include disqualification from contesting panchayat, local body elections, denial of certain public services and government welfare programs, including maternal and child health programs, assured promotion ban for government employees.

Politicians, leaders and government employees are expected to set an example for others by adopting this norm themselves, influencing the villages to follow suit.

The two-child norm is active in states like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha

Activists say this law is viewed as anti-democratic because it prevents people from participating in local self-governance and interferes with the reproductive rights of individuals because it prevents individuals from exercising their right to decide the number of children they choose to have.

The issue figured in the Assembly recently with BJP legislators raising the issue, saying the two-child policy was the reason behind the declining sex ratio and female foeticide.

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