JORETHANG- Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang announced various incentives for people belonging to the indigenous communities to produce more children.
Addressing a Maghe Sankranti function in Jorethang town of South Sikkim on Sunday, he said that the population of indigenous communities has dwindled with Sikkim’s “fertility rate registering the lowest growth rate at one child per woman in recent years.”
“We need to arrest the declining fertility rate by incentivising local people, including women, to produce more children,” Tamang said.
The chief minister said his government has already provided 365 days maternity leave to women in service and 30 days paternity leave to male employees to encourage them to raise babies.
I n addition, the state government has proposed to give one increment to the women employees for giving birth to a second baby and two increments for producing a third child, he said.
This financial benefit will not be made available to a woman having only one child, Tamang clarified.
The chief minister said that the general people will also be eligible for financial assistance for producing multiple children the details of which will be worked out by the health and women and child care departments.
Tamang said that his government has launched the IVF facility in hospitals in Sikkim to encourage women to conceive babies in the event of having problems to do so naturally for which a grant of Rs 3 lakh will be given to all mothers producing children through this procedure.
He said that so far 38 women have conceived through IVF facility and some of them have become mothers too.
Tamang hit out at the previous Pawan Kumar Changing government for “coercing” the Sikkimese people to raise small families with one child only and said his Sikkim Krantikari Morcha government wanted to do exactly the opposite by urging and incentivising local people to raise bigger families with three children in order to arrest the declining population.
The estimated population of Sikkim stood at under seven lakh at present of which around 80 per cent belonged to the indigenous communities.