Sikkim government to appoint child care helpers for every govt employee
Sikkim CM Prem Singh Golay

Gangtok: As part of its effort to increase the declining fertility rate in Sikkim, the State Government has over the past week announced extended maternity leave to temporary staff from six months to one year on a par with regular employees as a part of its larger initiative to increase the fertility rate in the state.

On Thursday, Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay at an event near Gangtok announced, “After the one-year maternity leave, parents tend to go back to work. However, the child, a year old, will still need care. No provision for someone to look after the child. Hence, to take care of the child, we will deploy childcare helpers to the homes of every government employee with a year-old child. Those who will be recruited as childcare helpers will be those women above the age of 40 years who cannot seek government employment or even those women who are widows or come from low economic strata.”

The child care workers will be provided Rs. 10,000 per month for their services.

The government has earlier announced the establishment of childcare units in various government offices. But considering the same as not feasible, Golay shared, “We were considerate of child care unit in offices. Instead, we will send the person for a year. But not a domestic help only for taking care of a child of government employees.”

The CM had on January 3 announced that his government would provide incentives to Sikkimese mothers willing to bear more than two children.

The Golay government has also started a scheme to provide financial assistance of Rs 3 lakh to women for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment to help increase the fertility rate. Golay shared, “The fertility rate in Sikkim is below 1, at an average of 5 mothers giving birth to one child. We have also ensured that free IVF treatment for women wanting to have a child. So far since the initiative was announced, 38 women have taken IVF with 7-8 finding success in having a child.”

According to the National Family Health Survey 2019- 2021, Sikkim’s fertility rate is the lowest in the country. From the fertility rate of 2.01 in 2009, it came down to 1.1.

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