Skip to comments.Teachers Told To Find Sterilisation 'Volunteers' In Villages (India)
Posted on 02/24/2006 6:26:22 PM PST by blam
Teachers told to find sterilisation 'volunteers' in villages
By Peter Foster in New Delhi
Thousands of primary school teachers have been ordered to find two "volunteers" for sterilisation as part of a draconian solution to India's population explosion.
The order was issued to 6,400 teachers in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state (pop 170 million), where the teachers have been given until March 31 to meet the "sterilisation target" or face disciplinary action.
The plan, imposed by a district magistrate in the southern city of Allahabad, is a radical approach to dealing with India's population of almost 1.1 billion.
The nation's population, as displayed on a giant screen in the capital at noon yesterday, stood at 1,089,752,843. It is expected to overtake China (currently 1.3 billion) by 2020 as the world's most populous nation. It is estimated that 29 children are born in India every minute.
The magistrate, Amrit Abhijat, has remained unapologetic despite an outcry from religious groups and social activists. They say the scheme evokes memories of the forced sterilisation of the Indira Gandhi government of the 1970s, when nearly a million men and women, mostly from the lowest castes, were targeted. "The root cause of all evils is population explosion," Mr Abhijat said.
The teachers, who as government employees are subject to government orders, have criticised the plan. Ravi Chaurasia, a primary school teacher, said: "Are we supposed to teach students or ask them to bring their parents to medical camps for sterilisation? It is shameful."
Uttar Pradesh is not alone in having incentive schemes to encourage people to opt for sterilisation. Farmers in Maharashtra state with more than two children must pay a 50 per cent surcharge for irrigation water.
In an attempt last year to meet its annual target of 930,000 sterilisations, another district of Uttar Pradesh offered fast-track gun licences for anyone who could produce more that five "volunteers".
Jashodhara Dasgupta, of the local organisation Healthwatch, said the latest scheme was "a disgrace".
However, India's population worries government planners who, despite the eight per cent economic growth rate, will need to generate tens of millions of new jobs.
Experts disagree over whether the population will be a burden or a boon in the years ahead. Some economists predict India will benefit from the fact that China's economy is expected to slow by 2030 because of the ageing effects of its one-child policy.
India, by contrast, is one of the youngest countries in the world, with half the population now under 25, a fact that could give India a potential competitive edge over Europe where the population will soon be top-heavy with pensioners. Any advantage could depend on India's ability to educate its masses sufficiently to compete in the global economy.
Back in the early '70's, my social studies teacher, who had been to India, told us men would line up by the droves for a visectomy in exchange for a transistor radio.
"'The root cause of all evils is population explosion,' Mr Abhijat said."
Then what is his explanation for evil in the ancient, thinly populated world?
Now its gun licenses?
Takes a village.
I'd say it's more likely a symptom, not the root.
As India becomes more prosperous, the birth rate will also naturally fall. Sterilization seems an extreme solution, I do agree birth control would offer a quick solution. Are there religious taboos associated with birth control?
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