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Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, has unveiled a controversial bill for curbing population growth. It proposes denying government jobs, promotions, subsidies and the right to contest local elections to anyone who has more than two children. UP, which is home to over 220 million people, has long been a governance challenge and has consistently ranked low on development indices. But experts say its population growth — like India’s — is already slowing. Experts have warned against a “coercive” two-child policy that denies women agency and further increases unsafe or sex-selective abortions, given the deep-rooted and overwhelming preference for sons. They are baffled by the bill, which has been drafted by the state’s law commission, since it contradicts Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) population control policy which was also released on Sunday.

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