Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday, July 4, said that the leaders of the indigenous Muslim minority communities have agreed on the need to curb the population explosion in some parts of Assam, as it has caused a serious threat to the development of the state.
Sarma addressed the media in Guwahati after holding a meeting with nearly 150 personalities from various fields, including writers, doctors, cultural workers, lecturers, historians, musicians, among others, at a program titled 'Alaap Alochana – Empowering the Religious Minorities'. The Minister of Welfare of Minorities and Development Department Chandra Mohan Patowary, Education Minister Dr Ranoj Pegu, and Political Secretary to the CM Jayanta Malla Baruah were also present in the meeting.
The leaders discussed issues about the minority communities, especially the indigenous Assamese Muslims, in great detail. The minister said the meeting also emphasised the need to protect and preserve the uniqueness of the Assamese Muslims.
Sub-Groups Of Various Sectors
To address the issue, eight sub-groups have been formed on health, education, population stabilisation, cultural identity, financial inclusion, women empowerment, and skill development, and comprise members from the indigenous Muslim community, The Indian Express reported.
The groups will have to submit their recommendations to address the issue within three months, following which, the state government would prepare a plan for the next five years. According to the report, the next round of meetings will be held with the political leaders and student unions from the community, followed by the members of the Bengal-origin Muslim community of Assam.
Sarma's Decent Family Planning Advice
Last month, Sarma had said that social menaces, including poverty and land encroachment, can be curbed if the immigrant Muslims adopt a 'decent family planning' practice and control the population.
The minister had expressed his willingness to discuss the matter with the Muslim organisations and leaders and help educate the families on population control.
National Family Health Survey
Contrary to Sarma's claims of the population explosion among the Assamese Muslim community members, the fifth National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) released by the Union Health Ministry released in December 2020 showed that the community witnessed a sharp decline in fertility since 2005-06 in the state.
Earlier in June, the Chief Minister had announced the government is looking to implement population norms for government policies. For the same, the state government proposed a two-child policy to avail benefits under the schemes provided by the state.
The announcement came amid the government prohibiting people with more than two children from contesting local elections.