PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday stuck to his views that educating women and not law is the best remedy to check population growth and pooh-poohed Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut for asking the BJP to withdraw support to his government for “opposing” the Uttar Pradesh governments proposed ‘Population Control Bill’.
The JD(U) top leader’s remarks on population surge last week had triggered debate among the political parties with many BJP leaders of Bihar differing with him and supporting the legislation route mooted by Yogi Adityanath government in the neighbouring state to tame rapid population rise.
Interacting with media persons after his weekly “Jananta Ke Darbar me Mukhya Mantri” programme here, the Bihar chief minister iterated that the new farm laws that had triggered protest by farmers were beneficial for the cultivators and opined that the agiators should further engage with the union government to sort out the issue.
Kumar, who himsef had served as Agriculture mininister in the NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said similar agriculture reforms in Bihar in the past have yielded good results.
“I don’t take Shiv Sena seriously. I don’t even care what they say about me. I don’t know what he (Raut) has said. He does not have the political acumen”, he told reporters.
While referring to his decision to handover the actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death by suicide case to the CBI, Kumar said, “People have not forgotten what Shiv Sena leaders were saying when we had handed-over the case to the premier investigating agency.
“Therefore, I dont pay heed to what Shiv Sena leaders say. I once again say that its not possible to ensure population control with a law,” he said, adding educating women is more important.
Everyone will benefit if women are educated.
Bihar’s fertility rate is reducing now.
He made the remark here in reply to questions from journalists who sought his views on Rauts comment.
In his weekly column in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Raut welcomed the Uttar Pradesh governments proposed draft bill on population control and said the BJP should withdraw support of the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar if the JD(U) leader opposes this legislation.
The chief minister highlighted how progagating education among women helped in bringing down total fertility rate in Bihar from around 4 to 3 now to drive home his point.
Different surveys in Bihar and other parts of the country have brought the fact that if among wife and husband, the former is matriculate the total fertility rate is 2.
Similarly if wife has studied till plus two level the TFR is 1.7, he said in support of his remarks.
“Considerting this, our government decided to open plus two level schools in every panchayats,” Kumar added.
When asked about his comment on farmers ongoing protest against the centre’s three new agriculture laws in the national capital, Kumar said, “The issue should be resolved through dialogue. The central government has already held several rounds of talks with farmer leaders. I hope that it will be resolved cery soon”.
As far as Bihar is concerned, farmers are very happy as the agricultural productivity has increased in the state, he added.
In 2006, Bihar was the first state in the country to abolish the APMC Act which facilitated private companies to directly purchase from farmers.
Kumar said its right of citizens to hold protest in favour of a demand, but large-scale congregation of farmers at Delhi border when COVID pandemic is raging in the country can’t be appreciated.
Responding to a question on rising prices of petrol and diesel in the country and why don’t the states and political parties think over reducing taxes to check such hikes, Kumar said, “Its true that fuel prices are pinching consumers.
We will find a way out by talking amongst ourselves.
“We will explore the option of reducing taxes on petrol and diesel in Bihar”.
Patna has already joined the list of state capitals where the petrol price has crossed the Rs 100-mark.
The CM was also asked about his comments on alleged phone-tapping of prominent personalities in the country using Israeli Pegasus spyware on which he said, “This is wrong and I have always maintained that there are advantages and disadvantages of the newer technology”.
The chief minister met over 106 complainants at the public interaction program and solved many a grievances on the spot.
The CM looked into the complaints regarding general administration, rural development, panchayati raj, road construction, agriculture and tourism departments and directed concerned senior officials to help the complainants.