A local Baptist church in Mizoram has decided to announce incentives for those couples who decide to have at least four babies. The cash prize will be provided in an incremental manner with the church paying Rs 4,000 for the fourth baby, Rs 5,000 for the fifth baby and so on.
There is no upper limit to this incentive scheme and more the babies, more cash will be provided. This scheme has been announced by the Baptist church’s Bazar Veng branch in Mizoram’s Lunglei town.
Apart from this ‘initiative’, newly wed couples are also being felicitated by the Baptist church with a cash prize of Rs 5,000.
The ‘justification’ provided for such a scheme is that, there is a concern about the low birth rate among the dominant Mizo tribe of the state, which is now being shared by the state’s churches. The has a total population density of 52 people per square kilometre as per the 2011 census, which makes Mizoram the second least densely populated state in India.
This justification has been refuted by various critics of the church’s move, who claim that Mizoram is already congested and doesn’t need a baby boom. The critics claim that even though the population density of Mizoram is low as per Indian standards, when one goes global, it’s quite normal.
This logic stands true as Norway, a country which tops the global Human Development Index, has a mere population density of 13.2 people per kilometre. Even countries like Australia and Canada have a low population density of 3.1 and 3.7 people per square kilometre respectively.
The Presbyterian and Baptist which are two of the largest churches in Mizoram have repeatedly been asking their members to have more kids. Though unlike the Baptist church, the Presbyterian church has not announced any cash incentives.