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Prime Minister Manmohan Against Incentive-Based Population Control

New Delhi, July 23 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that government// policy was against incentive-based population control measures and coercion of any control to achieve it would not be acceptable.

Chairing the first meeting of the reconstituted National Commission on Population here, Manmohan Singh called for a three-pronged strategy focusing on the welfare of women and children, improving health and educational levels and balancing regional development to stabilise population.

"I would like to make it clear that our policy does not encourage incentives and disincentives as they have, at best, only a marginal impact and sometimes may even cause resentment and non-acceptance of the programme," Manmohan Singh said.

Pointing out that coercion of any kind to achieve population stabilisation was unacceptable in a free society, he said his government would evolve a development strategy focusing its attention on elimination of poverty and empowerment of women, keeping fertility reduction in the broader context.

Agreeing that human resource was an inevitable asset to a developing nation, Manmohan Singh said there should be limits to the population in such a way that the environment should be able to sustain in the long run.

"Therefore, sustainability of development processes requires a degree of population stabilisation."

"We must not mistake population stabilisation to be population control. There is widespread consensus that population stabilisation entails a holistic, comprehensive approach towards education and healthcare, particularly of our women and children," Manmohan Singh told the commission.

Expressing his apprehensions over the feasibility of a non-comprehensive population control policy, the prime minister said it should be integrated with the country's wider development policy.

"In this context, I believe that unless our population policy is integrated with our
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