India to Newlyweds: We'll Pay You Not to Have Kids

Half the population is under 25 and exploding
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2010 11:04 AM CDT
A girl looks on as Muslim brides wait for rituals to begin during a Muslim mass marriage in Ahmadabad, India, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – India's overwhelmingly young, babymaking population is putting it on a blistering pace to overtake even China's near-2 billion souls, and the thought of the resource drain is filling government officials with dread. But unlike China, which can simply institute a one-child rule, India's messy democracy must explore alternative ways to curb the birthrate, reports the New York Times. One tactic? Show newlyweds the money.

“I want to tell you about our honeymoon package,” says one nurse in a pilot program that offers couples about $106 to wait two years to start their family. Campaigns against teenage marriage—which traditionally result in a flurry of procreation—are also working, with the national birthrate down to 2.6 kids per couple. But India needs to hit 2.1 to stabilize its population, and the initiatives run up against eager would-be grandparents and impoverished, uneducated women. “An educated girl is your best contraception,” says one doc.

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