With 230 babies, Jiyo Parsi brings cheers

NEW DELHI: 230 and counting ... - that is the number of children born to Parsi couples since 2014, who benefited from the Jiyo Parsi Center scheme, aimed at stopping a sharp decrease in the number of the community. The scheme took off in 2013-14 as an urgent response to the 2011 census data that threw the population of Parsi to just 57,264, a sharp drop of 1.14,000 in 1941.

A scheme to stimulate the mating instinct may have seemed esoteric, but it seems that some progress has been made. The data of 230 children belong to those couples who benefited from the medical reimbursements offered under 'Jiyo Parsi' for medical interventions such as fertility treatments, assisted reproduction technologies and counseling, all aimed at preserving a community that, despite its small number, played a disproportionate role. in national life, producing stellar cricket players, exceptional scientists and innovative industrialists.

The good news is that the history of Parsi is witness to a kind of change with younger couples who choose not to have one, but two children. The 2021 census will be an important milestone that will reflect the extent to which the community has been able to curb the trend. Studies conducted in the past to assess the reasons for the decline gave a disturbing picture that there is an average of a child under 10 in nine families.

With the home of most of Parsis followed, the story of Karmin and Yazad Gandhi, based in Mumbai, reflects the changing mindset. This year, Christmas was special, since it was Rayaan, the first great festival of his second son. He completed three months on December 30 and has an older sister, Zaisha, who is 2 years old.

The family is a beneficiary of the Jiyo Parsi community health component, which includes financial assistance of 4,000 rupees for childcare support per child up to the age of 8 years to couples who are within a certain income level.

The tourism industry professionals, Karmin and Yazad, are sincere because the nursery's support for their first child helped them plan their second. Yazad, who was 28 years old when he married, says: “I was a single child but it was clear that I would get married early and have children to grow up with them. The promotion of community events motivates young people, ”he shared.

A review of the Jiyo Parsi scheme of the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) is set out in great detail in a report of the parliamentary position on social justice. The committee, led by Rama Devi, has emphasized the need for a separate census for the Parsi community.

Recognizing the importance of numbers to assess changes in the field during the last decade, Shernaz Cama, Director UNESCO Parzor and the National Director of the Jiyo Parsi Program, said they have already begun planning the scope to ensure that when the enumeration exercise for the 2021 census begins next year, the community is ready to appear to be counted.

TOI's search of Jiyo Parsi community posts on social media platforms found that marriages and child births are great news. In a post, a mother shares a poem along with her baby's picture and talks about her dream of having a child as the greatest joy in the world.

“The low rate of marriage, late marriage and the greater number of people who never married until age 40 has led to a decrease in the number of babies born. Therefore, it is important to change marriage patterns and treat infertility, which is a socio-psychological problem, the ministry said in a response to the committee.

It has been found that due to the large proportion of elders in the community, a younger couple often has the responsibility of several elders.

Therefore, the Jiyo Parsi scheme also provides a fee for people over Rs 3000 for childcare per child per month until the age of 10 years. Assistance of Rs 4,000 per month per person is also provided after the age of 60.