USAID Funding of Sterilization Camps in India, Part 2

Steven Mosher
by Celeste McGovern
© 2013 Population Research Institute
Weekly Briefing
15 January 2015
Reproduced with Permission

Earlier this week, we released a report outlining some of the horrors of India's sterilization camps. We called the world's attention to the US Agency for International Development's complicity in coercive sterilization camps in India. Among the evidence was a report published by the OECD describing a multi-million dollar program by USAID to reduce fertility in India.

USAID Tied to "Results"

The OECD report also elucidates how USAID encouraged India's sterilization quota system to develop by carefully financing its activities in India. It used a unique mechanism known as "performance based disbursement (PBD") in which the dollar value was attached to "a set of targeted results" agreed upon between USAID and SIFPSA. "The targets for achievement were set at an achievable yet ambitious level to emphasize the focus on achieving results," according to the OECD.

Of course, on the surface it looked as though population targets were being dropped. As USAID noted to PRI this week, US law forbids funding them. The 1999 Tiarht Amendment prohibits the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from funding any family-planning program that has targets or quotas, is coercive, has financial or other incentives or involves non-consensual experimentation. If any of these requirements is violated or a "pattern or practice of violations" emerges, the administrator of USAID has 60 days to submit a report of findings and remedies to the Committee on International Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

It was damaging for India to keep quotas in the open after all the bad publicity China's One Child Policy was eliciting in the 90s anyway, so in 1996 India adopted a "Target-Free Approach" to family planning. But recent investigations by human rights activists in India have found that population targets and sterilization quotas are still routine and widespread. "Every state sets targets in its annual health plan for female sterilization, male sterilization, insertion of IUDs, and distribution of contraceptive pills," says a 2012 report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) based on interviews with 50 Indian health workers. "A central government body, the National Project Coordination Committee, reviews these targets and allocates funds for family planning in every state."