GOI To Boost ‘Jiyo Parsi’ Scheme Post 214 Births

The Government of India’s scheme established in September 2013, which offers cash assistance to encourage Parsi couples to have children has resulted in a proud 214 births over the last five years, through Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART). In keeping with the success of this scheme, the GOI is considering allocating more funds for the next financial year. The Centre-sponsored scheme has a ₹12 crore budgetary allocation for the financial year 2019-2020. Based on the review of the scheme, the government will consider if there is a need to increase the amount

As per the Union Minority Affairs Ministry, the Parsi population declined greatly from 114,000 in 1941 to 57,264 in 2011. Once finances were allocated for the Jiyo Parsi scheme, the first birth through ART or medical procedures to address infertility, such as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), was registered in 2014.

With over 30% of the Parsi population choosing not to get married, infertility and late marriages are among the main reasons for the rapid decline in the Parsi population, according to Parzor Foundation, which has been striving to promote and preserve the Zoroastrian (Parsi) culture and implements the scheme with the help of organisations like the Bombay Parsi Panchayat.

The scheme comprises the advocacy as well as medical components. Under the advocacy programme, workshops are held to create awareness about the dwindling numbers in the community. For fertility issues, financial assistance is provided for detection and treatment. Under the scheme, there is an overall ceiling of ₹8 lakh for ART, including surrogacy per couple, per child born. The scheme is applicable to all couples, irrespective of their financial status.

Dr. Shernaz Cama, who spearheads the Parzor Foundation, expressed that they were awaiting the fresh census data in 2021 to gauge the actual impact of the Scheme, as well as the advocacy programs they conduct. She spoke of the numerous interventions required, apart from funds, to prevent the further decline of the population, like the norm of no more than two kids per family. Parzor Foundation runs an advocacy program to encourage Parsis to marry early and to have more than one child. It will now hold bimonthly workshops to further address the concerns. Dr. Cama also said that since the community also had a high dependency ratio (the number of dependents per working person, which is higher among Parsis as most couples have only one child), there was a need to increase the allowance for seniors.

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