Despite being paid Rs 200 by the BMC for convincing others to undergo sterilisation, motivators have been found trying to pocket a share of the Rs 1,451 awarded to the men they bring in at the Family Welfare Units
As if struggling to control the city's burgeoning population and luring men with cash to undergo vasectomy wasn't enough, the civic body's Family Welfare Unit now has it's hands full, fighting a racket in which 'motivators' who convince candidates to opt for sterilisation then try and pocket a part of the Rs 1,451 that is awarded to the wooed candidates.
Vasectomy woes: The number of men opting for vasectomy has been
inconsistent, rising from 1,000 in 2007-08 to 4,661 in 2008-09, then
dwindling to 2,082 men in 2010-11
Currently, BMC pays Rs 1,451 to any person who volunteers to undergo No Scalpel Vasectomy (NSV). A commission of Rs 200 is awarded to any individual who motivates and brings another to a centre to undergo the procedure. But going by recent incidents, the commission of Rs 200 is not enough. NSV is a virtually painless family planning method which doesn't involve any cutting open of the body, offered to men. The number of men opting for vasectomy has been rather inconsistent, rising from 1,000 in 2007-08 to a whopping 4,661 in 2008-09, and then again dwindling to 2,082 men in 2010-11. The only possible motivation that can be offered to attract more candidates is that of money, and BMC officials are worried that the extortionate ways of the motivators may cause further damage to their cause.
"The motivators play an important role in the programme, as they convince people to opt for the procedure, but now we are having a tough time handling them. When a doctor speaks to a candidate for NSV, he or she may not be convinced. But if another person from outside the medical fraternity speaks of its merits, there is a greater chance for them to be convinced. Thus, motivators are important for the NSV programme. But now, they are only adding to our trouble," said a BMC medical officer.
One such case of extortion took place on Friday, at the civic health office that houses an NSV operating theatre. A man who identified himself as Rehan allegedly harassed 26-year-old Mohammad Sahil, a resident of Madanpura, right after he had undergone the procedure at the Parel centre.
"He explained to me that I should opt for NSV, as I already have two children. When he got his Rs 200, he asked me to meet him after the operation. When I emerged from the procedure, he started pestering me for money, and even started following me. I was scared, but the security guards appeared and he fled," said Sahil, who then reported the incident to the head of the Family Welfare Unit.
Dr Asha Advani, special officer of the unit, said, "Recently we handed over one of these motivators to the police. Whenever we suspect that such people are loitering around, we ferry all the men who have undergone NSV in a car to a far-off location, pay them there and then drop them."
Keeping an eye
"The fact that they motivate people to come here to undergo NSV is commendable, as they are helping us. But ever since they started eyeing the incentive handed to the NSV candidates, there has been a problem. The motivator gets Rs 200, which is a decent amount for the role they play in the programme. We have even asked our security personnel to be alert and look for unknown people hanging about the centre," added Dr Advani.
The BMC allows any individual to be a motivator: he just has to bring in an individual who is willing to opt for NSV. "Whenever anyone comes for NSV, we explain the incentive system. We also tell them not to give any amount from their incentive to the motivator, as they have been paid what is due to them. The lure of the amount encourages the lower strata of society, and so unemployed people, even druggists turn motivators to earn a quick buck," said an official from the health department.