- GS-1: Society & Population issues
- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Maharashtra’s Two-Child Norm
Context: A woman officer from the Maharashtra Prison Department was dismissed from service after an inquiry revealed that she violated the Maharashtra Civil Services (Declaration of Small Family) rules because she suppressed the information from the authorities that she has three children.
What is the ‘two children’ service rule for Maharashtra government employees?
- Maharashtra is one of the few states in the country that have a ‘two children’ policy for appointment in government jobs or even for the elections of some local government bodies.
- The Maharashtra Civil Services (Declaration of Small Family) Rule of 2005 defines a small family as wife, husband and two children and stipulates that a person is not eligible for a job with Maharashtra Government if he or she has more than two children after 2005.
- The rules mandate filing a small family declaration at the time of applying for a government job.
- The definition of child under these rules does not include adopted children.
- The rules also empower the state government to give relaxation in ‘just and reasonable’ manner and mandates recording such reasons.
- Other states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Gujarat, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Assam have similar kind of children policy for appointment to government services
Analysis of the Provision
- Leading by example: These mandatory norms were formulated for Civil servants with an intention to set an example before citizens for following two-child policy for population control.
- Tool of Population Control: As a policy it was also meant to discourage people from having more than two children by barring them from the prospects of government service.
- Penal Provisions to deter violations: There have been many cases in the past where employees have continued lying about the number of children by using various means. Some people have also been charged with IPC provision for ‘criminal breach of trust by public servants
- Lackadaisical Implementation: The disqualifications of serving employees under the rules has been done in rare cases. In most instances, cases come to light when someone complaints to authorities about an employee having more than two children.
While only a few states in the country have made mandatory rules for government employees and local level elections, the two child norm is something that calls for more informed consensus on the issue and wider implementation.