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Claiming to have succeeded in encouraging more births, and more singles to get married, the Parsi community on Saturday launched the second phase of ‘Jiyo Parsi’ campaign. The campaign takes credit for adding 101 babies in the last threes years to the otherwise declining community — from a population of 1.14 lakh in 1941 to 57,264 in 2011 Census.
“Population of Parsis declines by around 10 per cent every decennial census…. There are 800 deaths for every 200 births, and the main culprits are low fertility caused by late or no marriages, single-child families, immigration, intermarriage and divorce,” said Dr Shernaz Cama, director of UNESCO PARZOR Project, which is implementing the Jiyo Parsi scheme along with others.
Started in 2014, the government-supported campaign is an initiative conceived and promoted by Parzor Foundation, Bombay Parsi Punchayet, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and The Federation of Zoroastrian Anjumans of India. Advertising veteran Sam Balsara, founder of Madison Advertising, who has designed the print campaign, said, “For the first time in the world there has been an ad campaign to save a community. The first Jiyo Parsi campaign was mildly controversial, but it helped us grab attention and convinced many. We thought of keeping the second phase a little serious.”
Besides the ad campaign, the scheme also counsels Parsi couples on the importance of having multiple children at a young age and urges them to diagnose and treat infertility, besides convincing singles to get married at a “correct” age.