South Asia

India: Rajasthan in 'cars for sterilisation' drive

Tata Nano
Couples are being urged to opt for Tata Nanos rather than babies

Health officials in the Indian state of Rajasthan are launching a new campaign in an effort to reduce the high population growth in the area.

They are encouraging 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.

Many in the government are worried about the size of India's population.

It is expected to overtake that of China by 2030.

Sitaram Sharma, the head doctor of Jhunjunu in western India, is hopeful that the chance to win a car might be just enough to tempt at least 20,000 men and women to undergo sterilisation.

He is also offering motorcycles, televisions and food blenders.

The offer is open to all Indians and not just residents of his drought-prone region.

Other regions have also offered incentives for couples volunteering for sterilisation.

A nationwide campaign was abandoned in the 1970s, however, after complaints that thousands of men and women were forced into having the operation.

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