AIZAWL, July 10 - On the eve of the World Population Day, the Young Mizo Association, the largest and most influential civil society in Mizoram, today advised Mizo couples to produce more babies.
“Even though the YMA agrees with this year’s World Population Day’s theme ‘Family Planning is a Human Right’, it is of the view that family planning should be interpreted to suit the situation in Mizoram where the population is comparatively sparse,” the central committee of the YMA said in a press release today.
The YMA said Mizoram has a population of 12 lakh with a population density of 52 persons per square km against the 382 per square kilometre national average.
Quoting official records, the YMA release said 24,786 newborns were recorded in 2015, which decreased to 22,497 in 2016 and further declined to 21,431 in 2017. It registered 6,441 deaths in 2015, 6,440 deaths in 2016 and 6,191 in 2017.
“As Mizoram records a population growth rate of 1.7 percent against the national decadal growth rate of 2.35 per cent, birth control is not suitable for Mizoram,” the release said.
Elaborating on the statement, central YMA president Vanlalruata said Mizoram has the lowest population density in India, next only to Arunachal Pradesh.
Vanlalruata said that the low population in Mizoram was a hindrance to growth and said that the rise of population in Mizoram could develop entrepreneurship in the State.
The low birth rate among the dominant Mizo tribe has become a matter of concern not only for the Mizo organisations but also for the churches.
In 2009, the Mizoram Presbyterian Church denounced the birth control policy, saying it was against the “continuation of God’s creation”. Since then, the Presbyterian Church has been educating its members to have as many children as possible. “We have not changed our stand on the birth control policy,” said a Presbyterian Church leader.
In January this year, the local Baptist church of Lunglei Bazar Veng in southern Mizoram announced Rs 4,000 for the fourth baby, Rs 5,000 for the fifth and so on.
According to Mizoram’s statistical handbook, the aggregate population growth in the current decade has been 23.48 per cent, while in the earlier decade it was 29.18 per cent.
Smaller churches, including the Catholic Church, agree to this policy, though some may not say it out loud.
The fourth National Family Health Survey conducted between January 2015 and December 2016 revealed that the infant mortality rate in Mizoram went up from 34 in 2006 to 40 in 2016, an increase of almost 18 per cent.