Sterilize and win yourself a car! Only in incredible India.

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To curb the population growth, Rajasthan introduces a radical incentive for sterilization campaign for Indians.

In a bid to reduce the high population growth in Rajasthan, India, health officials in this Indian state launched a new campaign that encourages men and women to volunteer for sterilization.  In return for their willingness to “tie their tubes”, they were offered a car and other prizes.

India currently has a population of about 1.21 billion.  The number is expected to rise and overtake that of China by 2030.  The increasing population numbers are worrying the government.  Despite its long standing family planning programme which started way back in 1952, India’s population still continues to increase and even tripled since its independence from the Britain in 1947.

Thus, this radical move by health officials in Rajasthan came as no surprise to many.  Sitaram Sharma, head doctor of Jhunjunu in Western India, is hopefu that the chance to win a car might be just enough to tempt at least 20,000 men and women to undergo sterilization.  He is also offering motorcycles, televisions and food blenders.  The unconventional offer is not limited to residents of this drought-prone region, instead, all Indians are welcomed to claim their prizes if they come forward to be sterilized.

Other regions have also offered similar incentives for couples volunteering for sterilization.  A nationwide campaign in the 1970s however, was abandoned due to complaints that thousands of people were forced into the operation.  But health officials are still giving this campaign the go-ahead.

As India experiences a population surplus, here in Singapore, we continue to struggle to raise our fertility rate which has reached a record low of 1.16. Speaking at an Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) conference in January, Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng believes the uphill task at this moment is to persuade Singapore residents to have more children.  He also said ‘we will continue to support couples’ decisions to get married and have children, and create a pro-family environment.’

Even after the introduction of baby bonuses and other incentives, Singapore still fails to see a positive result in its birth rate.  So perhaps, if Singapore is to take a leaf out of India’s books and introduce a radical incentive idea, would it work?  Share with us your thoughts.  Would Singaporeans take the bait and produce more children?

Source: BBC, ST.

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