Shiv Sena Offers Cash Reward for Families That Have More Than 10 Kids
Shiv Sena is India’s right wing Hinduvta organization that aims to increase the dominance of Hindus in India. They are known for causing communal problems with minority religions and de-secularizing India as much possible. The Uttar Pradesh branch of the organization (the political party of which is currently in power with the NDA Coalition government) is working to increase the population in India’s most densely populated state.
In a move that is against everything that most people who care about progress in India work for, the Shiv Sena is offering a cash reward of 21,000 rupees (around 350 USD) to families who have more than 10 children. They are justifying the move by saying they need to work to counter the “growing influence of other communities.” They will also be giving out a certificate (What an incentive!) that says “Rashtra hit me Hinduon ki jansankhya badhane ke liye (For increasing the population of Hindus in the interest of the nation).”
They are also planning on beginning campaigns against family planning starting on the 1st of the November to counter the effects of family planning on Hindu populations. The group claims that the family planning is largely used by Hindus and so other religious groups, mainly Muslims, continue to grow in population. (Apparently, a minority that is a little bit over 10% of the population and 4% of the Lok Sabha is threatening!)
This is not the first time such a program has been conducted. Seven years ago they did the same thing in Lucknow (offering 11,000 rupees) and 120 families claimed the award at that time.
This is one of the most counterproductive things that can be done in India. Uttar Pradesh is already facing a population problem (being the most densely populated state in the second most populous country!). They also have the second highest fertility rate in India at 3.2 children per women. Uttar Pradesh has a high incidence of infant mortality, malnutrition among children, and lack of other necessities for the families. Sadly, this reward will be more appealing to the exact population that will not be able to raise their children with basic needs.
In addition to the demographic impacts, discouraging family planning and encouraging births is counterproductive to women’s empowerment movements. Increasing the incentive for men to take away women’s agency (cash reward) and taking it away (stopping family planning) are going to increase the gender gap even further.
Also, it’s racist.
This is a sexist, racist, and dangerous move, even for the Shiv Sena. Many organizations are devoted to helping empower women and bring fertility rates down (regardless of religion) to help ease the burden of a rapidly increasing population both on the larger society and on individual families. It is important to encourage more programs that to do so, including incentivizing (including conditional cash transfers) the use of contraception. If money can be used to increase fertility, it can also be used to decrease it![Image Attribute: Pablo Nicolás Taibi Cicare cc]