SALARY INCREMENTS for government employees who opt for more than one child; women government employees to get free childcare attendants to take care of their newborns for a year; 365 days maternity leave and 30 days paternity leave; financial help for IVF procedure.
Alarmed by the state’s falling fertility rate, the Sikkim government has introduced a slew of incentives.In the latest step, all state government employees who decide to have two children will receive one increment, while those who have more than two children will receive two increments. This policy will come into effect from January 21.Addressing a function on Friday, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) said his government proposed to recruit women aged 40 years and above to depute them at the homes of women government employees to take care of their newborns for a year. These attendants will be given a monthly remuneration of Rs 10,000, he said.According to the latest National Family Health Survey-5 data, Sikkim has the lowest total fertility rate (TFR) in the country. The figure stood at 1.1 for 2022, which means that women in Sikkim did not bear more than one child on an average. The TFR was 0.7 in urban areas and 1.3 in rural areas – both below the national average of 2.0, and the replacement level of 2.1.Speaking to The Indian Express, Sikkim Chief Secretary V B Pathak said the state’s Sample Registration System (SRS) survey indicated that the TFR may be lower at 0.89.“While the SRS may not be a validated document by the Government of India, it is still a telling finding for us. A TFR of 0.89 is extremely concerning. The government has been strategising on methods by which the population can be stabilised. We are trying to ascertain the reason behind the steadily dropping TFR and will commission a study to investigate whether it is genetic or social,” he said.