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Thursday, 30 March, 2000, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Maharashtra sets family size for jobs
children at desk
Two children will be the requirement for aspiring civil servants
By Sanjeev Srivastava in Bombay

The Maharashtra state government has decided to limit family size as a pre-condition for those seeking state jobs.m

commuters on bus
Population control: A priority for Maharashtra
Those looking to join the state civil service will now have to give an undertaking that they will not have more than two children.

The proposal has been cleared by the state cabinet and comes into force from 1 May 2001 after a law to this effect is passed by the Maharashtra assembly in its monsoon session this year.

Politicians included

In a country where law-makers are widely perceived as being above law, the small family rule will also be applicable to politicians contesting local municipal and corporate elections.

We want to send a message that nobody is above law

Health Minister Digvijay Khanvilkar
The same rule also applies for candidates seeking public office through state-level panchayat and zila parishad (local self government) elections.

"We want to send a message that nobody is above law," the state health health minister, Digvijay Khanvilkar told the BBC.

"In any case, it is the duty of politicians to give the right kind of message to the people. Those would violate the undertaking would be punished. They may be sacked and barred from contesting future elections," he says.

The new rule, however, will not be implemented with retrospective effect - candidates already having more than two children will not be automatically disqualified.

Sex bias

Mahrashtra is India's most prosperous state but even its resources are increasingly under strain because of the growing population.

The state is now the country's third most populous with 91m people.

Health minister Digvijay Kjanvilkar said that the state government's efforts are not just directed at the population problem but also the issue of bias against girls.

He said the state government would announce special incentives for parents who opt for birth control measures after having only daughters.

They will also introduce cash incentives for educating the girls and not allowing them to marry until they are 20 years old.

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