Mann ki baat or ban ki baat? Government must back off

The government has decided to introduce the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 in Parliament, proposing a complete ban. Only altruistic surrogacy will be allowed in a regulated form to legally-wedded Indian couples married for five years or more, and only “close relatives” of couples seeking children will be allowed as surrogate mothers. The proposal also rules out surrogacy for unmarried couples, single parents, live-in partners and gay couples. It seems that from beef to booze and from books to babies through surrogacy, lately our government is engaging more in ban ki baat, as opposed to mann ki baat with its citizens.

One can well take the view that such a law will be ineffective, or drive the activity underground. Given the egregious failure of basic law enforcement at all levels from child-trafficking to public safety, from mob violence to financial crimes, whether in preventing them or in bringing criminals to justice, no one can be faulted for having a pessimistic view about what can be accomplished by laws.

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