The Uttar Pradesh government would provide a free kit — equipped with contraceptives and condoms — to newlywed couples as ‘shagun’ under a central government initiative, Mission Parivar Vikas, to be launched on July 11, the World Population Day. Called ‘nayi pahal’ kit, it will be distributed by ASHA workers and will also carry brochures, guidelines and other important literature on the importance of safe sex, family planning and spacing out births, The Times of India has reported.
A study featured in The Lancet journal recently revealed that India was perched on the 143rd mark among 188 nations in the context of health.
Uttar Pradesh contributes the most to India’s growing population, having a Total Fertility Rate of 3.3, where 11 districts within UP have a TFR of over 4. The state along with Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam and Jharkhand contribute to 28 per cent of the country’s total population.
Mission Parivar Vikas will be launched across 145 districts in these seven states where fertility rate is high. “The aim is to prepare newly wed couples about responsibilities of married life,” TOI quotes Avneesh Saxena, project manager, Mission Parivar Vikas, as saying. The ‘nayi pahal” kit will also contain a pack of towels and handkerchiefs, a nail-cutter, a comb and a mirror set, Saxena added.
A statement from the Ministry reads: “The key strategic focus of this initiative will be on improving access to contraceptives through delivering assured services, dovetailing with new promotional schemes, ensuring commodity security, building capacity (service providers), creating an enabling environment along with close monitoring and implementation.”
As part of its family planning initiative, the UP government also has plans to place free condom boxes at health facility centres and gram panchayat bhawans, while women who opt for a new contraceptive injection distributed by the government will be paid Rs. 100 per shot. Other monetary incentives are being given for individuals who undergo sterilisation.