Their numbers dwindling, govt offers Parsis help

Parsis, facing demographic peril, have found a close friend in the Congress-led UPA Government which is keen on helping the community improve its overall fertility rates which have been plummeting.

Towards this end, the Ministry of Minority Affairs, the nodal ministry for listed minorities, has firmed up a plan which includes sharing the cost of infertility treatment of Parsi couples.

The community, which has shrunk in numbers from a decent 1.14 lakh in 1941 to 69,601 in 2001, has been urging the Centre for long to help married, childless couples with counselling and infertility treatment.

At their own level, the community has been trying to do whatever it can to arrest rapid decline in its numbers, with Census 2011 showing even further decline.

The community wants the Centre to help them with the existing schemes such as the ones being run by the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP), which counsels infertile Parsi couples and has medical facilities to help them access treatment. But the treatment cost is prohibitive in most cases and that’s where the Parsis want the government to help.

Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid yesterday said the ministry had approached the Planning Commission with a scheme to help Parsis out of this unprecedented population decline. “The scheme would be hopefully included in the 12th Plan,” he said.

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