PSF Process in India: Achieving Rapid Population Control Using Financial Incentives
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PSF Process in India:
Achieving Rapid Population Control Using Financial Incentives

Introduction

This brief report details early results from a rapid population control demonstration project being implemented in the tribal belt of central India. PSF (Project Small Family) process is a newly designed methodology where the responsibility of seeking and adopting family planning methods is shifted to participating women. The reward program is designed to encourage model family norms in a voluntary and verifiable way. Early results are extremely encouraging and are approaching zero population growth in a very fertile group with original TFR (Total Fertility Rate) in excess of 3.0. This group has already achieved a TFR of less than 1.5 in a short duration of nine months.

On-going pilot projects are being funded by Project Small Family, Inc. (PSF), a non-profit organization based in Massachusetts, USA. Local implementation is being done by a Chhindwada MP (India) based non-profit organization named I.D.Y.W.C (Institute for Development of Youth, Women and Children). The results are as supplied by I.D.Y.W.C. There is high degree of confidence in the results because of random field audits conducted by PSF representatives.

PSF process is a radical departure from effort-based population control methodologies being practiced today. It promotes small family norms by providing controlled financial incentives to poor women who must, in exchange, follow a reproductive program as delineated by PSF. The need for this design was prompted by the projected population growth numbers over the next fifty years where the world population is expected to grow to between 9 and 9.5 billion by the year 2050. Since this is a designed process (as opposed to evolved approaches being practiced today), designers had the luxury of looking at existing processes and their drawbacks. In addition, a big effort was made to keep it compliant with existing international treaties for ethical treatment of women while promoting family planning by making it voluntary and non quota-based.

Design Philosophy

PSF process is completely business oriented. The basic statement this design makes is that it is impossible to have a business deal unless both parties feel benefited at the time of deal making. Most of the other population control plans are approaching participants with a good heart and trying to preach small family norms to poor and uneducated families who cannot see any immediate and direct benefit because of their lack of education. These processes have at best demonstrated marginal acceptance by their target audiences.

PSF process on the other hand, utilizes a results-oriented approach. It rewards the results shown. Participants (even the uneducated) can see rewards, and implementers can see results. This simple formula has resulted in one of the best results ever achieved in a voluntary process. And it has done so in a very short period of time.

PSF has eliminated everything which is not directly related to population control. For example, we do not [End Page 82] relate marriages to kids born, so there is no place for marriages or for men in this process. Similarly, family-planning education has been eliminated. We expect to create demand for family-planning education by empowering women to look for this option. If we are able to create demand, private suppliers will fill the void.

The reward money has been arrived at by looking at the Indian national budget and what that country spends per person per month. Our contention is that if a poor prospective mother delays her child by a month, the country should offer that money as a reward, creating a win-win situation. To an implementing nation it is a zero-cost solution to a serious problem, despite its high outlay. There are cheaper processes, but they have very low acceptance. PSF pilot projects have more women on our waiting list than we can serve at current funding levels.

PSF Process

PSF enrolls young women (between the age of 18 and 28), irrespective of their marital status or number of children, from poorer segments of society. They are offered a monthly financial plan until they achieve the age of 33 years. These women are asked...