In a bizarre news, the Jain community in India has distributed sops to young couples asking them to give birth to more than two children.
Well, apparently the community is concerned about the decline in Jain population as compared to the total population of India.
The sops have been reportedly rolled out by the supreme body of Digambar Jains, Digambar Jain Mahasamiti.
Number of Jains reduced by 0.03% in ten years
In 2001, there were 42 lakh Jains in India, which had a population of 102 crore.
The number rose to 44 lakh in 2011, with India's total population at 120 crore.
Therefore, in terms of absolute numbers, a nominal growth has been witnessed, but in terms of overall national population, a decline of 0.03% i.e., from 0.40% to 0.37% has been reported.
Also, fertility rate among Jains is 1.2, as per NFHS
Moreover, the fertility rate, which is the average number of children a woman can give birth to during her childbearing years, among Jains is 1.2, while for Hindus it's 2.13 and for Muslims it is 2.6, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NHFS).
Samiti laid agenda of 'Hum Do Hamare Teen' in meeting
Taking all these into consideration the samiti held a meeting last week in Indore, and laid the agenda of Hum Do Hamare Teen, an unambiguous request to Jain couples to bear more children.
Further, it announced financial assistance for couples who'll give birth to more than two children, and also provide counseling for couples in a bid to reduce divorce cases within the community.
'Samiti has decided to bear cost of third child's education'
Ashok Badjatiya, national president of the samiti, told media, "We want couples to think about this issue. The samiti has decided to bear the cost of educating the third child."
Notably, the samiti has a presence in 16 states across the country.
He added the committee understands that there are many reasons why couples don't want more children, including financial problems.
Well-off members of community will meet soon to collect funds
"So if we as a community can help take care of that (financial problems), we could encourage them (couples) to have more children," Badjatiya said.
He added that there will be a meeting of the well-off members of the community soon who will help in creating the funds for the third child, and will also hatch a scheme regarding this.
Sops are currently applicable for Digambar Jains only
For now, the sops are applicable for Digambar Jains only, but there is another plan to include other Jains too.
Notably, Digambara is a member of one of the two principal sects of Jainism, the other one being Swetambara.
A samiti member, Jainesh Jhanjhari, said Jainism is a very old religion and it'd be a loss if the community's number suffer.
Samiti wants to conduct workshops for counseling couples
Jhanjhari further said that there are efforts being made to conduct workshops for couples to reduce divorce cases.
"The number of divorce cases is on the rise, and most of the times separation happens because small things were not handled properly, resulting in an escalation," he said.
He added that there will be a grievance redressal mechanism to handle the marriage-related problems.