If you are a resident of Jhalawar with an overwhelming desire for a saree or a 4G smartphone, the answer to your dreams could lie in a single word: Sterilisation.
Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s home district may have topped the state in terms of family planning in 2015-16, but it’s in no mood to rest on its laurels. In the fag end of this financial year, the Jhalawar district administration has launched a unique initiative that offers 4G Android smartphones to men opting for sterilisation, and sarees to women who want to take up the procedure.
With a view to further boost its family planning measures, the district’s medical and health department is offering lucrative sops to its residents. Listing out the incentives being offered in this regard, Jhalawar chief medical and health officer Dr Sajid Khan told HT: “The department had been providing Rs 2,000 to men opting for non-scalpal vasectomies and Rs 1,400 to women undergoing laparoscopic tubectomies. Now, we are offering something more. Android smartphones – or Rs 5,000 in cash – and sarees will also be given to people opting for these procedures.”
So, why do men get a higher incentive of Rs 2,000 as compared to women? Dr Khan said there was a greater thrust on promoting male sterilisation because men were not as eager as women to undergo the procedure. “We decided to offer 4G handsets because of the ongoing smartphone rage,” he added.
Dr Khan said the offer was launched on March 10 because the district administration wanted to boost enrolment before the end of the current financial year. “Our sterilisation target was 8,703 people, of which 8,181 – comprising 8,089 women and 92 men – has already been achieved,” he added.
How successful has the smartphone-saree scheme been so far? “So far, we have given smartphones to 15 men and sarees to 100 women who came forward for sterilisation after the launch of the offer,” said Dr Khan. Holi greetings accompanied by sterilisation offers were also circulated on the social media to attract people, he added.
Mohanlal Kumar, a resident of Sunel town, said he was delighted to get a smartphone after undergoing sterilisation on March 10. “I was planning to undergo the procedure anyway, but the department’s offer sealed my decision,” he added.
The 43-year-old labourer has three daughters and two sons.
Jhalawar was the first district in the state to embrace the family planning scheme in 2015-16. After achieving 89% of its target then, it has already crossed the 94% mark in the current financial year – which ends this month. The other components of its family planning scheme include reproduction and child healthcare, immunisation activities and anti-natal check-ups.
Jhalawar collector Dr Jitendra Kumar Soni said the Rajasthan government awards Rs 30 lakh to districts excelling in family planning schemes every year. The district’s medical and health department uses this funds as well as money donated by social organisations to promote family planning schemes and sterilisations.