Guns for Vasectomies

Every year, over 15,000 people apply for gun licenses in Shivpuri district, Madhya Pradesh, but only 500 are actually granted.  Manish Shrivastav, the administrative chief of Shivpuri, decided to capitalize on this differential by instituting a program that offers “fast-tracked gun licenses for those who agree to be sterilized.”  Shrivastav hopes that this plan will incentivize the fulfillment of a 1,000 vasectomies/year target handed down by the Indian government.  So far, the plan seems to be working:

The results are impressive: 139 men have undergone vasectomies in the district since the incentive of a firearms permit was introduced a month ago, compared with only eight in 2007.

There are also suggestions that participating men are becoming vasectomy evangelists. “It was believed that a vasectomy decreases your sexual powers,” one recent out-patient said. “But there is no weakness, which is a good thing.”

More afer the jump.

The plan is part of a national strategy to lower the average birth rate per couple to 2.1 children from where the average stands today: 5/couple.  Economists warn that India will soon reach its carrying capacity if current population trends continue:

Shivpuri faces several problems that are common across the country: water is scarce and family plots of land are growing smaller by the generation as they are divided equally between each father’s sons. High birth rates are also contributing to high levels of female infanticide, Mr. Shrivastav said.

When asked about concerns regarding the threat of increased violence due to the newly granted gun licenses, Shrivastav responded by saying, “I have the power to cancel gun licences, also.”  In fact, Mr. Shrivastav believes other districts should mirror Shivpuri’s program.  Why?  According to Shrivastav, “wherever you go, you know, the psychology of men remains the same.”

Makes me wonder – will it take a country of armed men to lower India’s rapidly growing population?

Source:  Sonal Singhal referred me to this Times Online article (thanks Sonal!)

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