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Last updated: 21 November, 2011 - Published 13:51 GMT
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Have more children, police hinted

Sri Lanka police
The government has offered a special incentive to police families that have more children
The government of Sri Lanka appears to want military and police families to have more children.

Presenting the annual budget speech on Monday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced that any police officer parenting a third child would be given a one-off cash grant of one hundred thousand Sri Lankan rupees.

The same grant was offered to army, navy and air force parents a year ago.

Delivering the budget in his capacity as finance minister, President Rajapaksa said that giving police families a sum equivalent to 900 dollars for parenting a third child was the mark of a "caring society."

He said the police and the rest of the security forces had fostered democracy, development and social reconciliation in Sri Lanka, and deserved this grant for having another child.

'Continued militarisation'

Nearly all members of the police and military currently come from the Sinhalese ethnic majority and the announcement was criticised by two civil society activists.

 You can't bring a child up with 100,000 rupees
A police officer

One, Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, said the police had done nothing to democratise Sri Lanka and asked why such grants should not be offered for every Sri Lankan child.

Another, Herman Kumara, said these special family grants continued a process of social “militarisation” and financial help should be given to farmers, fishermen and other food producers.

The police spokesman, Ajith Rohana, said however that his colleagues did a risky and difficult job and deserved such concessions.

Sri Lanka has a relatively low fertility rate of less than two children per woman.

A police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he would not be having a third child simply to get the grant.

“You can't bring a child up with 100,000 rupees,” he said.

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