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Bihar politicians having more than two children will find it difficult to contest elections in future.In what is being described as a landmark move aimed at checking the population explosion in the state, the government has approved the Bihar Model Municipal Act to this effect.

The new legislation automatically debars leaders with more than two children from contesting elections, at least the local civic bodies polls and municipal polls, at the outset. The new law that has already got the nod of the state Cabinet will be effective from next year.

India’s Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, who is from Bihar, has nine children. Lalu’s large family, he claims, was a kind of protest against the forced sterilisation during the emergency period (1975-77) – described as a black chapter in Indian history.

The new legislation is set to effectively put a curb on the population boom.

Fresh faces

Political experts say the new legislation will totally change the contours of grass-root politics in Bihar as it will see fresh faces with conscious minds.

“What the government programme about family planning failed to do in the last few decades, the new legislation will do,” said social scientist Professor Hetukar Jha, adding, “such ideas are welcome to Bihar”.

Another social scientist, Dr Shaibal Gupta, who is the convener of Asian Development and Research Institute, Bihar, said: “In my view the two-child norms is a clinical alternative.”

As of now, Bihar has a total population of over 80 million, over five million of them living below the poverty line, for whom arranging two square meals still remains a dream even in this age of satellites and rockets.

Literacy rate

And one of the key factors that is held widely responsible for this pitiful situation is the alarmingly poor literacy rate (about 35 per cent) among the villagers who still hold the notion that “too many heads in the family bring too much money”.

The seriousness of the situation is underlined from the fact that the Nitish Kumar government in the state has engaged the police to nab the children loitering on the streets and enrol them in schools.

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