Stay away from me, honey, we’ll get some money

Every now and then, you hear about some new scheme in India to control the population, such as Population making TVs cheaper so couples have another way to entertain themselves at night and putting a hard-hitting slogan on billboards: "Don’t have a son — have a Sony."

Now comes a scheme in one Maharashtra district that rewards couples who wait a few years before having children. The district health officer, VH Mohite, calls it the "second honeymoon package":

"If the couple postpones the first pregnancy by two years, then the couple will be getting 5,000 rupees ($125, £60) as a cash incentive, or a second honeymoon.

"And if the couple postpones their first pregnancy by three years, then the couple will get 7,500 rupees ($190, £90) as a cash incentive."

It is not just the money.

Couples who enlist in the scheme will also be provided with marriage counselling, free contraceptives and, when the time comes, advice on childcare. [Link]

That’s a pretty good incentive. Our daughter Lekha was born 20 months after our wedding. For $125, I could have made it happen four months later. Wait, who am I kidding? I wasn’t in control of anything. Things just happened: one moment I was in the living room watching TV while my wife went to the bedroom to slip into something more comfortable, the next moment I was changing a diaper.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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