The number of men opting for permanent birth control measures has gone down by 75% in the last four years, according to civic data.
To reverse the trend of fewer men opting for sterilisation, the government, in collaboration with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), had started an incentive scheme to encourage men to undergo non-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) in 2008. While 4,354 men opted for NSV in 2008-09, this number has dropped significantly, to 1,513, in 2011-12.
Doctors believe that myths surrounding sterilisation are responsible for this decline. "The myth that men will become impotent after such a procedure is still prevalent. Moreover, male participation in family planning is low, across all sections of society," said Dr Ashok Anand, professor of gynaecology at JJ Hospital, Byculla.
Under the scheme, the government pays a man Rs1,500 if he chooses to undergo NSV, and Rs200 is given to anyone who encourages people to undergo the procedure. NSV is performed free of cost at all government and civic centres.
Sources in the health department said that many people misused the scheme and brought people for the procedure only to make money. "Monetary schemes work only for a brief period. Many, who did not require the surgery, have done it just for the money," said a doctor working in a civic dispensary.
Even the number of women undergoing tubectomy or other surgical methods of contraception has been on a gradual decline, with 26,308 women undergoing the surgery in 2008-09 as compared to 21,062 in 2011-12. "Earlier, women would undergo this procedure after two children but now, with late marriages and a one-child policy, temporary methods are preferred," said Dr Duru Shah, gynaecologist, Breach Candy Hospital.