Mizoram sports minister Robert Romawia Royte has doled out cash incentives to the state’s living parents with the highest number of children.
Royte, who is locally known as “RRR”, on Tuesday, distributed Rs 2.5 lakh and mementoes to 17 parents, who have the highest number of children in Aizawl East-II, from where the Royte was elected in the 2018 assembly polls.
Mizoram churches and the state largest civil society organization-Young Mizo Association (YMA) have been advocating the baby boom policy.
Earlier on June 20, which coincided with Fathers’ Day, Royte had announced that he will give a cash incentive of Rs 1 lakh to living parents with the highest number of children within his constituency to encourage population growth among demographically small Mizo communities.
Royte gave away the first prize carrying a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh and citation to Ngurauvi, a widow from Tuithiang locality, who bore 15 children, including 7 sons.
Lianthangi, another widow from Chhinga Veng locality bagged the secondary prize which carried Rs 30,000 and a citation.
Lianthangi has 13 children.
Two women and a man, who have 12 children each, were awarded the third prize carrying Rs 20,000 each and citations.
Besides, 12 parents, who have eight children each, were given consolation prizes of Rs 5,000 each and citations.
Speaking to this reporter, Royte said the infertility rate and the decreasing growth rate of the Mizo population have become a serious concern.
Mizoram is far below the optimum number of people to attain development in various fields because of the gradual decline in its population, he said.
“It is unacceptable and illogical to follow a two-child norm in a state like Mizoram where the density of population is only 52 persons per square kilometre against over 600 persons in other states,” he said.
Some states like Assam and Uttar Pradesh have already announced a two-child norm policy.
Questioning about the necessity of common norm, Royte said “Why common norm in such areas with glaring differences in density of population,”
He said that Mizoram has only about 10 lakh population (as per 2011 census) with a density of 52 persons per square kilometre and it needs at least 94 plus persons per square kilometre to compete with the national average of 464 persons per square kilometre,
“The minimal population figure of Mizoram suggests that uniform norm for the whole nation is detrimental to certain regions and communities,” he said.
Royte also extended support to the ongoing campaign of population growth being launched by certain church denominations and YMA in the state in order to have the optimum size of population for development.
“Let the 2- child norm be applied to states where the density of population is above the national average. The Govt of India should review its uniform 2-child norm and restrict to high population density states only,” he said.
According to the 2011 general census, Mizoram population was 10.91 lakh and the indigenous MIzos constituted about 87 per cent.
With only 52 persons per square kilometre, Mizoram has the second-lowest population density in the country next to Arunachal Pradesh, which has a population density of 17 persons per sq.km.
The national average is 382 per sq.km.
The Central Committee of YMA and churches, including the largest denomination- Presbyterian church and Baptist church of Mizoram has been preaching baby boom policy.
Some local churches in the state had also dolled out cash incentives to Mizo couples, who have more than three children, in the past.
Certain organisations like YMA and Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) have alleged that the growth of population among Chakma communities in the southern part of the state is increasing at an “alarming rate”, which is solely compounded by illegal influx from Bangladesh.
They said that the high rocket Chakma population growth was not possible by normal human production.