Editor's Note: The following piece comes from Global Post, which provides excellent coverage of world news – important, moving and odd.
China has its controversial one-child policy. But in India, health officials in the state of Rajasthan are taking a very different steer on population control, offering a swag of prizes – TVs, food processors and even a free car – to compatriots who step up to be sterilised.
The innovative scheme follows recent predictions that India, home to 1.21 billion people, will soon pip China as the world’s most populated country.
In Rajasthan – India’s largest state by area, also known as "Land of the Kings" – authorities are banking on the lottery to remedy flagging sterilization targets.
On Friday, Pratap Singh Dutter, deputy chief medical officer of Jhunjhunu district told AFP: "Everyone who gets sterilized between today and 30 September will be entered into a lottery to win prizes. We felt we were falling behind on our sterilization targets of 21,000 per year, so the district collector came up with this idea. We hope at least 6,000 people will come forward in the next 3 months."
As the BBC reports, the offer is open to all Indians and not just residents of the drought-prone northern state.
Up for grabs: a Tata Nano, billed as the world’s cheapest car at about $3,000, alongside 21-inch televisions, motorcycles and food processors.
While authorities claim they have not received any complaints about the campaign, family planning advocates from the non-profit Population Foundation of India are not enamored with the plan, telling AFP it amounted to "coercion by a different name".
"Besides, how can how can you sustain it?" said the foundation’s Sona Sharma, who warned against the rush to meet sterilization targets. "You can't give a Tata Nano every six months to people."
The rewards-for-sterilization scheme is not the first to raise eyebrows. In 2009, The Times reported Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s plan to redouble the country’s efforts to bring electricity to all of its rural population in the name of population control.
"If there is electricity in every village, then people will watch TV till late at night and then fall asleep. They won’t get a chance to produce children," Mr Azad said at the time. "When there is no electricity, there is nothing else to do but produce babies.
Recent United Nations projections, carried by the Daily Mail, show India could overtake China and its 1.34 billion people as the world's most populous nation by 2030.
Today, India’s population is almost on par with the combined populations of the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Japan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Read more at Global Post.
I understand that the Indian government wants to tackle the problem with its population growth. With a size of 3.165.596 sq. km, it has 1,21 billion inhabitants. It shows how densely populated India is. China is geographically three times the size – 9.571.300 and has 1.34 billion.
The Global Public Square is where you can make sense of the world every day with insights and explanations from CNN's Fareed Zakaria, leading journalists at CNN, and other international thinkers. Join GPS editor Jason Miks and get informed about global issues, exposed to unique stories, and engaged with diverse and original perspectives.
Every week we bring you in-depth interviews with world leaders, newsmakers and analysts who break down the world's toughest problems.
CNN U.S.: Sundays 10 a.m. & 1 p.m ET | CNN International: Find local times
Buy the GPS mug | Books| Transcripts | Audio
Connect on Facebook | Twitter | GPS@cnn.com
Buy past episodes on iTunes! | Download the audio podcast
Check out all of Fareed's Washington Post columns here:
Obama as a foreign policy president?
Why Snowden should stand trial in U.S.
Hillary Clinton's truly hard choice
China's trapped transition
Obama should rethink Syria strategy
Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
RSS - Posts
Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.
Join 4,858 other followers