This Honeymoon's a Hit
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08 June 2010
By Siddharth Gadkari
Satara Zilla Parishad’s new family planning package takes district’s birth rate from 17% to 15.6% in three years
The officials introduced the voluntary scheme with a corpus of Rs 6 crore from the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) on August 15, 2007, to control the rising birth rate in the area. In the first year itself, 988 couples enrolled in the scheme. In the second year, the number touched 1,399 and 2009–10, it reached 1,550. The total number of enrolled couples till date is 3,927. Official records state the birth rate in Satara fell by 1.4 per cent after the implementation of the scheme. Earlier, the rate was 17 per cent, now it has come down to 15.6 per cent.
How it Works
Any couple who tied the knot after 2007 is eligible. Couples who delay their first child for two years will get a cheque of Rs 5,000 after completing the stipulated period without bearing a child. Those who successfully delay their first child for three years, get Rs 7,500.
Dr Bhagwan Pawar, district health officer, Satara Zilla Parishad, said, “The then District Collector Sambhaji Kadu–Patil introduced the scheme with the help of District Medical Officer Dr V Phalke, who is now retired. We are creating awareness about scheme through our primary health centers (PHC). Our staff used to visit newlyweds and inform them about the scheme. Now, most of the people in villages know about the scheme and directly approach us. Most couples are educated.”
He added, “Roughly 25,000 marriages take place in the district every year. We set a target of convincing 10 per cent of the couples to delay their first child. After getting their names enrolled, the couples undergo medical check–ups and counselling about family planning methods.” He said, “We have set a target of bringing down the birth rate in Satara from 17 per cent to 15 per cent for the year 2010. We are very close to the target. The state government has issued a circular to all districts to implement this scheme.”
Ingavale said, “We have decided to take a break for two years. We have got a cheque of Rs 5,000. The decision was taken by my wife Dhanashri and she convinced me. We are not using this money for a honeymoon. We have deposited it in our savings account for our future child.”
Seema Chatur, another beneficiary of the scheme, said, “My husband had no job when we got married. So, we took a collective decision to take break for three years. Now, we have completed three years and my husband has also got a job in Pune. Both our parents supported us in our decision.”
Number of Enrolments
April 2007–March 2008 988
April 2008–March 2009 1,389
April 2009–March 2010 1,550