DNA / DNA Correspondent / Friday, October 19, 2012 7:30 IST
The Union government has approved a proposal by the minority affairs ministry to bear the cost of fertility treatment in
order to arrest the decline of Parsi population in the country. A similar proposal by the ministry had been shot down
by the planning commission in 2010 on the grounds that it would spur demands from other communities as well,
thereby disturbing the health ministry’s family welfare programme designed to control rising population.
In the 12th Plan budget, the Planning Commission has allowed the minority affairs ministry to spend Rs2 crore in in
the current fiscal to organise fertilitycamps in areas concentrated by the community in Mumbai, Gujarat and Kolkata.
The amount will also be utilised to create awareness on in-vitro fertilisation or IVF technique adoption to increase
fertility by engaging health volunteers.
Planning Commission member Sayeeda Sayeedain Hamid had in her report on “empowerment of minorities”
highlighted the need to help Parsis lest it becomes an endangered community in India. The ministry of minority
affairs will now present a detailed roadmap to execute the scheme.
The ministry, which conducted a survey before moving the proposal for the fertility clinics, noted that the average
number of births per year in the Parsi community has never crossed 200 since 2001 and as such their number is
further dwindling. It said that while India’s population had grown to 1 billion in 2001, the number of ParsiZoroastrians has fallen 39% from 1.14lakh in 1941 to 69,000 in 2001.
Against the general child-woman ratio of 578 per 1,000 in the country, amongst the Parsis, it is just 85 per 1,000. The
proposal said late marriages, reduced fertility levels and migration were the major reasons for the decline in the
Parsi population.
About 30%of the Parsi population remains single, while another 30%is above 60. And to make matters worse, the
death rate in the community is three times the birth rate.
Dwindling Numbers
The average number of births a year among Parsis has not crossed 200 since 2001
Against the country’s general child-woman ratio of 578 per 1,000, among Parsis, it is 85 per 1,000
About 30% of Parsis remain single while another 30% is above 60. Also, the death rate within the community is thrice the birth rate