People in India have become so much hard pressed for cash that they are undergoing Nasbandi (sterlisation) to tide over Notebandi (demonitisation). Such cases are being reported mainly poverty ridden Uttar Pradesh.
– Districts like Aligarh and Agra have seen an “unusual” hike in sterilisations this month
– In Aligarh, for instance, the number of sterilisations in November has almost doubled
– In Agra, the figures have shot up to a record 904 women and 9 men as against 450 during the same month last year
Out of cash and desperate, 35-year-old Puran Sharma from Aligarh got himself sterilised — as his wife is handicapped, she couldn’t get it done — for the Rs 2,000 that a man gets for the procedure. A woman gets Rs 1400. Sharma said he had no money to feed.
But these are troubled times and it seems Sharma is not alone in taking this rather drastic step. According to data accessed by TOI, districts like Aligarh and Agra have seen an “unusual” hike in sterilisations this month, coinciding with the demonetisation move announced by prime Minister Narendra Modi on the night of November 8.
In Aligarh, for instance, the number of sterilisations in November has almost doubled, rising from 92 during the same period last year to to 176 now. And there are five more days to go before the month ends. In Agra, too, the figures have shot up to a record 904 women and 9 men as against 450 during the same month last year.
While health officials claimed that this increase in sterilisations was perhaps due to “intensive awareness” campaigns undertaken by their department, Sharma said he was not of any such a campaign and came just for the money.
A resident of Nehraula village, 40 km from Aligarh city, Sharma said he was told by a local accredited social health activist (ASHA) that he could get some cash by doing this. “I am in dire need of money to keep the house hearth burning. Besides, I do not know anybody in the cash-dry village who has enough money to lend me some. The local ASHA ‘didi’ told me about this and we decided to go for it,” added the daily wage labourer who is the sole earning member of his family that includes his handicapped wife and three children. He said he has been out of job for almost three weeks now.
“We both went to the government hospital in Khair, where doctors refused to operate on my wife because of her physical condition,” Sharma told TOI on Saturday. “So I underwent the procedure. i thought I could at least feed my family for some days with the reward. Sadly, I am yet to receive any money.”
Dr Rahul Sharma, in-charge of the community health centre in Khair, said Puran Sharma went in for sterilisation as he was in dire need of money. “Since his family was complete and he needed the money, we thought he could go ahead and get it done.”
The money, the doctor explained, would will be deposited directly into the “beneficiary’s account”, which takes some time. “That’s why the delay.”
According to Agra’s additional chief medical officer Dr Sher Singh of family planning department, a total of 2,272 persons opted for sterilisation this year, with a staggering 913 cases in November alone. He added that numbers go up slightly during winters because of the perception that risk of infections post surgery are lower in these months.