PATHANAMTHITTA: The Pathanamthitta diocese of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on Saturday announced welfare measures, including monthly financial assistance of Rs 2,000, for families having four or more children.
The announcement comes days after the Pala diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church brought in schemes for larger families, including financial assistance of Rs 1,500 per month for families with five or more children.
As per the circular issued by Bishop Samuel Mar Irenios, the diocese offers free pregnancy care for women delivering their fourth child onwards. “The members of families with four or more children will be given priority for jobs in the institutions run by the diocese, as well as for admissions to schools under the diocese,” the circular said.
“A priest will be appointed exclusively for such families to take care of their spiritual needs. Besides, a nun will be appointed as their animator. Once in a year, the head of the diocese will convene such families and spend time with them,” it said. The circular further added that a pro-life ministry will function for helping couples prepare for more children and create awareness among them on the value of life.
The diocese shared its concern over the negative growth rate of population in the district. “The district has registered a 3.12% drop in its overall population during the decade that ended in 2011. More than 25% of the district’s population is senior citizens,” the circular said.“There has been a sharp drop in human resources. Owing to the shortage of farmers, cultivable lands have become forests and wild animals are conquering such places. Around 20% of the houses remain closed in the district. We have also lost two assembly segments,” the circular said.
The bishop also urged families across all religions and castes to prepare to receive more children in order to overcome the consequences caused by the negative growth rate and for the bright future of the district.