Sikkim to ‘reward’ its residents for having more children & increasing the population

In contrast to India's rising population, Sikkim has India's lowest fertility rate with its indigenous population shrinking.

While states like Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Gujarat are drafting policies that incentivize sterilization or having up to two children only and reduce population, Sikkim is treading on a contrasting path.

From Salary increments for government employees who opt for more than one child to women government employees to get free childcare attendants to take care of their newborns for a year to 365 days maternity leave and 30 days paternity leave and even financial help for IF procedure.

Alarmed by the state’s falling fertility rate, the Sikkim government has introduced a slew of incentives.

“The low fertility rate among the local indigenous population is a matter of serious concern in Sikkim…We must do everything in our hands to reverse the process,” Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang said at an event in Gangtok.

Sikkim is the least populous state of India with a population of around seven lakh people.

The state has the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) at 1.1 which is the lowest in the country.

The Chief Minister has repeatedly expressed concern at the declining population of the indigenous Lepcha, Bhatia and Nepalis communities and said that his government was committed to take whatever incentives required to increase the numbers of the local people.

The least populous state in India with just 7 lakh people, Sikkim has been struggling with a low total fertility rate (TFR) for years. According to government records, Sikkim has the lowest TFR in the country, with a figure of 1.1 for 2022. This means that on average, women in Sikkim are not having more than one child. In comparison, the national fertility rate in 2022 was 2.159 births per woman.

The population of at least two of Sikkim’s 12 indigenous communities – Bhutia and Limbu – have been declining in recent years, state officials have said.

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