Today's Mangalam newspaper carries a report that the V.R. Krishna Iyer committee for legal reforms has recommended that there should be a law that limits children to two per family. If a third child is born, then the parents would have to pay a fine of Rs. 10,000. I thought this is absurd and could lead to problems like infanticide. But the committee also suggests that certain facilities like free education should be withheld for the child. I am generally in favour of this although the child will feel discriminated agains. But it seems there are people who are totally opposed to any such suggestions. One such response was that people should be free to decide how many children they want and such laws shouldn't even be dreamt of. I cannot agree with that view.
Free Society does not really mean that everybody is free to do what they want. No society can survive that way. When there are issues that the society faces as a unit, every member may have to make compromises. We as a people are very irresponsible, putting all responsibility on the government while claiming all benefits that are supposed to come to us. When we have more children, we simply assume that the government will provide for them. We may say that it is not the government who provides for *my* children. Think again. The water to drink, electricity, space on the road for travelling, parking space, medical care, education---a lot of things are provided by the government. I may provide only money, and that too from the salary I get, which again could be mediated by the government (government job, for instance). So long as we live in a society, we have to respond to the needs of society and abide by the laws that the society implements from time to time. We can, of course, examine the laws and express our opinions. But what is decided finally will have to be followed. And the government is only a group of people whom society has entrusted the job of running the society. That is what we call democracy.
I don't support the idea of punishing people who have more than two children. But withholding benefits from the third child is, I think, one way of promoting the idea of two children per family. I have nothing against it. Everyone knows that these are the consequences. If they still go ahead with a third child, well, they should face the consequences. We all know that the world itself is over-populated. Unless we bring down human population, there is going to be a catastrophe. Money we can print as much as we want, but not resources. Resources are limited and we are depleting them one by one. Unless we are very careful, we could soon be looking at the end of the world.