The Planning Commission has cleared a scheme to arrest the dwindling population of the Parsi (Zoroastrian) community, in what will be the first intervention of its kind. The Plan panel had earlier turned down the minority affairs ministry’s scheme to tackle the falling population of religious minorities.
The programme – called the scheme for containing population decline of small minority community – aims to increase the diminishing numbers of the Parsi community by a scientific and structured approach.
“The Planning Commission has accorded in-principle approval to the scheme,” minister for planning Ashwani Kumar told the Parliament in a written reply. According to the 2001 Census, the number of Parsis has declined from 1,14, 000 in 1941 to 69,000.
A budgetary provision of Rs 2 crore has been made for the scheme, which aims to address the issue of population decline among the Parsis through fertility treatments and awareness campaigns, in the current fiscal. The Central Sector Scheme launched in 2010-11 had a budgetary provision of Rs 1 crore, but was turned down by the panel.
The government’s move comes on the back of the National Commission for Minorities’ demand for an elaborate survey of the community.
To convince the Plan panel, the minority affairs ministry produced Census 2011 figures, which showed the rapid decline of the community’s population. The minister said that the scheme will be implemented through organizations or societies of the Parsis.