India Pays Newlyweds $106 to Delay Having Children

August 22, 2010

(ChattahBox)—The New York Times has an interesting piece out this morning on India’s novel approach to population control. The expanding population of India has now reached nearly 1.2 billion and half of its citizens are under 25. The swelling population is putting pressure on an already inefficient infrastructure of resources, and many larger families live in poverty with malnourished children. So, the government came up with an ingenious proposal to population control; it’s paying newlyweds about $106 to wait two-years to have children. Government nurses are traveling door-to-door in rural villages with money and contraceptives, and the program has proved effective.

The government program, dubbed the “honeymoon package,” is also slowly working to overcome ingrained rural customs of starting a family, as soon as a couple marries. And Indian officials are also discouraging girls from marrying in their teens.

“The program here in Satara is a pilot program — one of several initiatives across the country that have used a softer approach — trying to slow down population growth by challenging deeply ingrained rural customs. Experts say far too many rural women wed as teenagers, usually in arranged marriages, and then have babies in quick succession — a pattern that exacerbates poverty and spurs what demographers call “population momentum” by bunching children together. In Satara, local health officials have led campaigns to curb teenage weddings, as well as promoting the “honeymoon package” of cash bonuses and encouraging the use of contraceptives so that couples wait to start a family.”

Without programs to curb the growing population of India, the country is expected to swell to 1.5 billion to 1.9 billion, soon beating out China.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/McKay Savage/Flickr as India, Faces, rural women from a SHG.


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