Despite their rank as the world’s second-most populous country, Indian officials in the state of Mizoram are launching a race to encourage population growth by promising a cash prize to the family with the most children.
To boost their declining economy, Mizoram’s sports, youth affairs and tourism minister, Robert Romawia Royte, announced on Sunday that the Northeast Consultancy Services, an agency run by Royte’s family, would award a trophy and cash prize of 100,000 rupees ($1,345) to the most prolific household in the state, according to the Hindu’s report.
Royte hopes to increase population in the northeastern Indian state where fertility and population have declined for decades. It’s India’s next-to-lowest state in population density with an average of 52 persons per square kilometer — compared to the national average of 382 persons per square kilometer.
More people are needed to help support the local economy, the minister said, which is predominantly rural and agrarian.
There might already have been a clear front-runner had the contest been announced before last week’s death of Mizoram resident Zion-a Chana. The patriarch of the “world’s largest family” famously fathered a total of at least 89 children in his lifetime with 39 wives, an achievement that earned his family two appearances on the TV series “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” showcasing his 100-room compound in Baktawng Tlangnuam where 118 of his clan resides.
Unfortunately, Chana died just last week at 76, likely due to complications from diabetes and hypertension, said local reports.
Nevertheless, Royte might be on to something with the promotion, as Mizoram’s chief minister Pu Zoramthanga has agreed that the attention Chana received for his outsized clan was a boon to their community.
Said Zoramthanga on Twitter last week, “Mizoram and his village at Baktawng Tlangnuam has become a major tourist attraction in the state because of the family. Rest in Peace Sir!”
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