Uttar Pradesh gets ready for world’s seven billionth baby

Lucknow : With a UN report saying that the world’s seven billionth baby is expected to be born in the country’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh Oct 31, NGOs have zeroed in on seven expectant mothers in a village near here and made arrangements for a grand reception.

Even though United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) has not pinpointed where the landmark baby would be born, experts have identified a particular area in the vicinity of Lucknow.

No sooner than the UN highlighted Oct 31 as the symbolic date for the event, Plan — a Britain-based children’s welfare NGO — began the countdown for the birth of a girl in a village near Lucknow, the capital of India’s not only the most populous but also the state with the highest fertility rate.

The NGO’s India chapter — Plan India — has organised a major event at the Community Health Centre (CHC) in Mal village, about 23 km from here, Monday.

Plan India spokesperson Shompa Mohanty said: “We have zeroed in on seven expectant mothers in Mal village, where special arrangements have been made to accord a grand reception to the first seven children born between the midnight of Oct 30 and Oct 31 noon.”

The organisation is also marking the day to draw the world’s attention to India’s seven million “missing” girls, referring to widespread female foeticide and infanticide in a society that traditionally prefers male children.

Neelam Singh, head of Vatsalya, a leading NGO which is collaborating with Plan India, said here: “While the first child to take birth after the midnight of Sunday will be formally declared as the world’s seven billionth baby, we will accord equal privileges to each of the seven new-borns at the Mal Community Health Centre on that day.”

Top state officials are expected and state population registrars, social workers, the media and local celebrities will attend a special ceremony at the community health centre, where the new-born will be instantly issued birth certificates as a part of their ‘Right to Identity’.

“Vatsalya has been entrusted with the task to look after these seven babies for the next seven years, and it would be our proud privilege to also see that these children get their right to education as well as right to food security,” Singh added.

“An average of 15,000-16,000 children are born every day in Uttar Pradesh and of these as many as 350 take birth in Lucknow,” she added.

In 1999, the UN named a Bosnian son of refugee parents the world’s sixth billionth person, but it has no such plan to name anyone this time.

It has, however, launched a global campaign called ‘7 Billion Actions’, asking individuals, organisations and corporations to share their stories of how the world of seven billion people can be a better place for all to live.

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