India Offers Free Cars For People to Get Sterilized

Photo: diametrik / cc

It could be said that two of the biggest challenges facing our planet arrise from a surging, resource-hungry human population, and from the steady rise in the amount of greenhouse gas emissions which threaten to alter its climate -- but in an unprecedented move to counter the former, the government of India is essentially spurring the latter. In the Indian state Rajasthan, health officials are hoping to lure at least 30,000 men and women into voluntarily being sterilized by offering them expensive incentives, like cars, to ensure that there's never a baby on board.With 1.21 billion people within its borders, India is on track to become the world's most populous nation -- already accounting for 17 percent of humans on the planet. For decades the Indian government has tried implementing programs geared towards slowing its population growth, but so far none have been sufficiently effective. Census records show that just in the last ten years alone, India's population grew by a whopping 181 million people, or a little over half the total US population.

The city's chief medical officer tells The Telegraph that he thinks people will jump at the chance to trade in their reproductive ability for the chance to own a car or color TV.

"We are confident that this idea will work well" Mr Sharma said of the three-month long scheme.

The inducements on offer contributed by a local charitable trust include one Nano, the world's cheapest car for the first volunteer, five motorcycles and an equal number of colour televisions and food blenders for disbursal amongst subsequent candidates.

Others would be paid varying cash amounts that would supplement the federal government's Family Welfare scheme which offered Rs1000 [$22.83] to those undergoing vasectomy and Rs200 [$4.50] to the one who motivated them.

As population growth rates skyrocketing throughout much of the developing world, often in regions that can't quite sustain it, offering incentives for couples to have smaller families may be the most humane alternative. Of course, talk of controlling human reproduction remains one of the most controversial subjects, but as the population nears an estimated 9 billion people by the year 2050, with climate related problems looming on the horizon as well, such conversations may be unavoidable.

The question remains, however, whether we can bribe our way out of more crowded world.

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Tags: India