The BBC report today on a new population control measure in India. Health officials in the Indian state of Rajasthan are apparently launching a new campaign to try reduce the high population growth in the area.
They are encouraging both men and women to volunteer for sterilisation, and in return are offering a car and other prizes for those who come forward. Among the rewards on offer is the Indian-made Tata Nano - the world's cheapest car.
This report comes hard on the heels of a report in the Foreign Policy Magazine "where have all the girls gone"
This is in fact a very interesting article and whilst I would not agree with everything it says it makes a number of very important observations on the problems arising from the issue of sex selection. The article also points to the underlying international hostility to population growth and attributes the policy in the right direction.
The answer to the question where have all the girls gone is of course very simple they have not been spirited away by some modern day "pied piper" they have been terminated. I have included some extracts from the very long article below but have included a link to the complete article above
[...] The story begins in the mid-20th century, when several factors converged to make Western demographers worried about global population growth. Thanks to advances in public health, people were living longer than ever before. Projections released by the U.N. Population Division in 1951 suggested what the sum of all those extra years of life could be: Rapid population growth was on the horizon, particularly in the developing world. As pundits forecast a global "population explosion," anxiety mounted in policy circles, and the population control movement that coalesced brought together everyone from environmentalists to McCarthyites. Viewed through a 1960s Beltway lens, mounting numbers of people meant higher rates of poverty, which in turn made countries more vulnerable to communism.The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, and the Rockefeller Foundation were among the organizations that poured money into stanching the birth rate abroad, while the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the Population Council helped coordinate efforts on the ground. As these organizations backed research into barriers to couples accepting contraception, one of the obstacles quickly identified was that in most parts of the world, but particularly in fast-growing Asia, people continued to have children until they got a boy. As demographer S.N. Agarwala explained in a paper on India he presented at a 1963 IPPF conference in Singapore: "[S]ome religious rites, especially those connected with the death of the parents, can be performed only by the male child.... [T]hose who have only daughters try their best to have at least one male child." Even in the United States, surveys suggested a preference for sons.[...]
[...] In India, meanwhile, advisors from the World Bank and other organizations pressured the government into adopting a paradigm, as public-health activist Sabu George put it to me, "where the entire problem was population." The Rockefeller Foundation granted $1.5 million to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the country's top medical school, and the Ford Foundation chipped in $63,563 for "research into reproductive biology." And sometime in the mid-1960s, Population Council medical director Sheldon Segal showed the institute's doctors how to test human cells for the sex chromatins that indicated a person was female -- a method that was the precursor to fetal sex determination.Soon after, the technology matured, and second-trimester fetal sex determination became possible using amniocentesis. In 1975, AIIMS doctors inaugurated sex-selective abortion trials at a government hospital, offering amniocentesis to poor women free of charge and then helping them, should they so choose, to abort on the basis of sex. An estimated 1,000 women carrying female fetuses underwent abortions. The doctors touted the study as a population control experiment, and sex-selective abortion spread throughout India. In his autobiography, Segal professed to being shocked to learn that doctors at AIIMS were using a variation on his instructions to perform sex-selective abortions. But he neglected to mention that shortly after his stay in India he stood before an audience at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and described sex selection as a method of population control. (The minutes from the meeting describe "sex determination at conception" -- now finally available today through advances in assisted reproductive technology -- but in-utero sex determination was the form of sex selection furthest along at that point.) [...]