Government of India today said that 233 babies were born to Parsi (Zoroastrian) couples in India under the 'Jiyo Parsi' scheme.\n\n\n\nUnder the scheme, the government provides financial assistance to Parsi couples for Assisted Reproductive Technologies such as In-vitro Fertilization and Intra Cytoplasmic Injection, including surrogate pregnancies.\n\n\n\nJiyo Parsi scheme was started in 2013-14, and has so far spent about Rs 15 cr.\n\n\n\nBesides financial assistance for assisted reproduction, the scheme also includes counseling for couples. \n\n\n\nThe counselling sessions focus on topics such as fertility, marriage and family. Sessions are also organized for the elderly, including workshops on relationship management, parenting, drug awareness etc, said minister for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today.\n\n\n\nJiyo Parsi scheme also provides creche and child care support, senior citizen honorarium for child care, assistance to elderly and so on.\n\n\n\nThe scheme was conceived off in 2013-14 to help stabilize the population of Parsis in India.\n\n\n\nParsis, who reached India 1,400 years ago to escape persecution by Muslims in Iran, are largely an urban community.\n\n\n\nHighly educated and urbanized, Parsi men and women have been known to enter into marriage very late in life, affecting fertility rates.\n\n\n\nThe number of Parsi Zoroastrians fell to just 57,264 as per the 2011 census from 69,601 ten years earlier. \n\n\n\nBesides the government initiative, Parsis -- who are mostly found in Gujarat and cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad -- have also started initiatives within the community to address the issue of shrinking population.\n\n\n\nChildren of Parsi women who marry non-Parsis are not admitted to the community. However, children of Parsi men who marry non-Parsi women can be admitted, provided they agree to abide by the Zoroastrian religion.\n\n\n\nDespite being few in number, Parsis have contributed enormously to building India, both by playing prominent roles in politics and the freedom struggle, as well as in business and commerce. They are also known for their honesty, hardworking nature, enterprise and philanthropy.\n\n\n\nTatas, Godrejs, Wadias, Mistrys and Poonawallas are among the most prominent business families from the community.\n\n\n\nBesides Parsis, there is another group of Zoroastrians in India called Iranis, who migrated to India much later.