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‘National Population Day’ Should Focus on Higher Birth Rates
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‘National Population Day’ Should Focus on Higher Birth Rates

T he National Census Organization (NCO) has put forth a proposal to the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution to name May 31 as the ‘National Population Day’ as it marks one year since the day Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei laid down a set of general population policies to enhance population growth.
While criticizing western family planning policies, the Leader had called for increasing the birth rate to “strengthen national identity.”
The policies set by the leadership were worked out in 14 articles last Iranian calendar year (ended March 20) and communicated to the heads of the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) and the Expediency Council. On May 31, 2014 they were presented to the state bodies by First Vice-President Dr. Eshaq Jahangiri for enforcement.
The directive is a major effort to push birth rates above the replacement level, remove marriage obstacles, facilitate and promote large families, bring down the marriage age, provide financial aid to mothers particularly during pregnancy and nursing, provide insurance coverage for infertility treatment costs, strengthen family pillars with public education and spread life skills, and overall enhance dynamism and eloquence among the youth.
The policies also intend to highlight and institutionalize Iranian-Islamic lifestyle, increase life expectancy, provide healthy food, curtail social harms, spread the culture of respecting senior citizens, empower the working-age population, initiate spatial and geographical redistribution of population, maintain and attract populations to sparsely populated areas such as rural and border regions, encourage expatriate investments, reinforce national unity, and cast a sturdy control on population policies.
In October, the Leader again urged Iranians to help increase the country’s population, which he described as aging. “If we move forward like this, we will be a country of elderly people in the not too distant future,” he said.

 Significance
“Population policies are of great significance and correspond to cultural, social, and economic ethos as much as the economy of resistance. As the World Population Day (July 11) pursues different strategies than what our country calls for, we thought of observing our own population day to address pertinent issues,” Ali Akbar Mahzoon, head of Population and Immigrant Statistics told Mehr News Agency.
“The proposal will be a reminder of the crucial role of population policies that were neglected during the past two decades leading to the current sharp decline in population rate.”
The NCO has managed to slow down the trend through policies that encourage population growth.”Birth rates are moving on a slightly upward gradient,” said Mahzoon, and added that the number of newborns has increased by 4.2% compared to last year.
A second measure in line with the population policies was to hold conferences to help define, expound, and revise general policies to make their purpose clear for the whole community.
Delegating tasks to executive bodies was another strategic action based on which monitoring policy implementation was assigned to the NCO after a committee was established in the Majlis (parliament) and tasked with executing the strategies.
Mahzoon said non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were formed to disseminate information together with the mass media.
“The ‘family management’ course was also replaced by ‘knowledge and family’ classes in universities to train the youth in a plethora of areas concerning life and marriage.”
Registering the National Population Day needs bureaucratic procedures, and the final decision rests with the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution. “All such policies are in line with the Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (starts March 2016) and population policies,” he added.

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