On 6th February, 2020, the Center’s Union Minister for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi informed the Lok Sabha about 233 babies born to Parsi couples in India, under the ‘Jiyo Parsi’ scheme, aimed at implementing measures to arrest the declining numbers of the community. According to Naqvi, so far, the scheme has cost Rs 14 crore.
Responding to a question by TMC’s Mala Roy, Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi explained how under the scheme, the government, via Jiyo Parsi, provides financial aid to Parsi couples for Assisted Reproductive Technologies such as In-vitro Fertilization and Intra Cytoplasmic Injection, including surrogate pregnancies. Besides financial help, the scheme also includes counselling for couples on topics such as fertility, marriage and family. The scheme also provides creche and child-care support, senior citizen honorarium for child care and assistance to the elderly. Sessions are also organised for the elderly, including workshops on relationship management, parenting, drug awareness, etc.
As regards the funds allocated and spent so far on the Jiyo Parsi scheme, Naqvi said a total of Rs 19 crore was allocated, of which Rs. 10.08 crore has been released for the scheme since 2013-2014 till 2019-2020.
The objective of the scheme, implemented by the Union Minority Affairs ministry, is to contain the population decline of Parsis in India. The number of Parsi Zoroastrians fell to just 57,264 as per the 2011 Census from 69,601 ten years earlier.