Guwahati: The Assam government has planned to set up a “population army” of 1,000 youths to create awareness about population control among the members of the Muslim community, said Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday (July 19).
The government has planned to appoint 10,000 ASHA workers to distribute contraceptives among Muslim women.
The CM called for delinking the population control issue from politics and adopting a realistic solution with emphasis on education, health, ending child marriage and financial inclusion to solve the problem among the minority community, particularly those residing in the Muslim-dominated districts of the state.
He said that population increase among the minorities of Lower and Central Assam is a matter of concern during a discussion in the House initiated by opposition Congress MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed on various issues related to the minority community of the ”Char-Chaporis” (sand bars areas).
Opposition members who participated in the discussion said that using the issue politically would not solve the problem but asserted that there should not be a population control policy for Muslims alone.
According to the 2011 Census, Muslims comprise 34.22 per cent of Assam’s total population of 3.12 crore and they are in majority in several districts.
To bring down the population growth rate among the Muslims particularly those settled in the ”Char-Chaporis”, Ahmed proposed establishing educational institutes, stopping child marriages, improving health and communication services, providing jobs in government and private sectors based on population representation and facilitating easy availability of birth control measures among women.
The Chief Minister said that his government has no objection to the proposals, except those related to providing jobs as this has to be based on merit and not population representation.
(With inputs from PTI)