Jiyo Parsi scheme treats infertile couples, raises hopes of rise in Parsi population
By Aishik Chanda
Published: 23rd June 2016 06:17 AM
Last Updated: 23rd June 2016 06:17 AM
Fire temple at MG Road in Secunderabad.| a Radhakrishna
HYDERABAD: Jiyo Parsi! The scheme launched last year by the Union ministry of minority affairs to arrest the falling numbers of Parsis by treating infertility of couples has raised the hopes of the Hyderabadi Parsis to increase their dwindling population, albeit marginally.
“While a Parsi child, who was born out of a formerly infertile city Parsi couple, turned one year a month ago, another formerly infertile Parsi couple is expecting a child soon. In all, over 40 Parsi children were born after the launch of the scheme in 2015 throughout India but majorly in Mumbai,” says Jehangir Bisney, trustee of Parsi Zoroastrian Anjuman of Hyderabad and Secunderabad (PZAHS).
Anjuman is the nodal agency for implementation of the central scheme in the city which is home to around 1,200 Parsis who live mainly in and around Parsi fire temples in Secunderabad and Tilak Road, Abids and also at Bapubagh.
“Most of the city Parsis have been made aware of the programme through social media and Parsi magazines and also by sticking of posters at fire temples, in Parsi-dominated areas and at the Parsi Dharmasala near Paradise junction in Secunderabad,” adds Bisney who is a chartered accountant by profession.
“The programme has been received well by the Parsis of the city. During a two-day workshop held at Parsi Dharmasala on December 5 and 6 last year, some 300 Parsis and non-Parsis attended the first-day orientation and 24 Parsi couples were counselled on the second day,” recalls Omim Debara, grandson of Dinshawji Dadabhoy Italia, the first Parsi MP from Hyderabad.
The scheme is being implemented nationwide in assistance with Parzor Foundation of New Delhi and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
Under the scheme, medical and financial assistance and counselling are provided to infertile couples who have to first register themselves online at the Union ministry of minority affairs’ website by furnishing income proof.
The case is transferred to the Anjuman in Hyderabad, which then connects the infertile couple to gynaecologists who screen them and provide necessary treatment. The identity of the couple is kept strictly confidential.
“Any Parsi couple with an annual income less than ` 10 lakh is provided with a ` 5 lakh medical assistance and the aid continues till the woman conceives. An amount of about ` 10 crore has been earmarked for the scheme,” adds Bisney.
“As over 60 per cent of Parsis are above the fertility age, any work done to increase our numbers is welcome. As against every 18 to 20 Parsis dying in Hyderabad every year, only two to four children are born. This might marginally change now,” hopes Debara.