Dowry for the State

China has again stolen a march over us. It had already proclaimed the tough one-family-one-child norm.  Strange.  Two persons together are allowed to produce only one child! That comes to half per capita. Obviously their criterion is not one per head but one per bed.

Now  news comes that a Southern Chinese city has asked prospective  couples to deposit the equivalent of US $ 850 before they get married.  This amount will be returned to them after 14 years if they beget only  one child.  In case they exceed the limit, it will be forfeited. What would happen if they get a child after fourteen years is not clarified. Presumably it is expected that after such a long gap, the couple would have forgotten the art of making babies. Or may be the loophole has been left deliberately so that couples could use the loop.

It is also not clear whether any interest would be paid on the amount. Should be. At the rate for a fixed deposit, because after all it is a fixed deposit!

The measure should commend itself to our planners on two counts. It will not only help curb the growth of our population, but will also serve to augment our financial resources.

From the number of invitations I receive for weddings, I have estimated that at least one thousand marriages take place every day in India.  At this rate and the present value of rupee against the dollar, we can mop up extra revenue of over 1300 crore rupees every year.  This will be by way of long-term deposits.  Given the usual lack of care in these matters amongst our people, quite a bit of the amount is likely to be forfeited.  That will be for the general good.  After all so much money is spent on marriages without the community getting any benefit.  Now this could be the first charge on weddings – a sort of dowry for the State.  Parties should be allowed to claim deduction of this amount from the dowry to be paid to the groom.

Already it is contemplated in our country that no one who has more than two children will be eligible for any elective office. The Chinese measure will be in keeping with the spirit of our proposed legislation. It will nip the evil in the bed. Our proposal is inspired by the spectacle of our leaders having too many children who embarrass them by their brokerism and middlemanship.  Empirically, it has been seen that the less the number of children our leaders have, the less corruption is attributed to them.  Of our Prime ministers, the man with the best reputation for honesty and integrity was Jawaharlal Nehru. And he had only one child.  The reputation of our leaders has suffered in direct proportion to the number of their offspring. (On that logic, the present P.M. should turn out to be the most honest).  That is why Plato had suggested that rulers should have no private family or private property. It will not give rise to permanent loci of wheeler-dealers.

To go back to the new Chinese formula, we find every thing to commend in it.  It is a recipe for a trim and grim nation.

It is a thought for our Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha for his next budget.  Unless the government finds it so attractive that it passes an ordinance straight away.  That is of course the best way to go about it. For a good cause, don’t wait to legislate. Just ordinate.