Fearing a significant decline in Bali's local population, the provincial government is stepping up its campaign to increase the birth rate on the island by advising islanders to consider having four children.
Putri Suastini Koster, who heads Bali's Family's Welfare Empowerment (PKK) agency, said yesterday that Bali should reverse the decades-old campaign that advises Indonesians to have two children, referring to Indonesia's national family planning program.
"When we see the situation in Bali right now, where the number of Balinese people are in decline, it's only right that we return to the guidance of our elders, who told us to have four children," Putri said, as reported by state news agency Antara.
Putri describe the guidance as "meaningful," adding that more children would also lead to more prosperity. She reminded the people of Bali to hold onto the wisdom of their elders, explaining that it is "crucial" to the future of Bali and its people.
It's an interesting campaign, to say the least. Indonesia's population of over 260 million is the fourth-largest in the world, with a national birth rate of 1.36%, according to 2017 data from the Central Statistics Agency.
The birth rate in Bali, meanwhile, stood at 1.21% between 2010 and 2016, a steep decline from 2.15% in the decade that preceded it. While the government might have been factually correct in citing that Bali's birth rate has been in decline, it's still unclear how campaigning for a higher birth rate on the island might affect the rest of the country.
During an event last November, Bali Governor Wayan Koster said the older family planning campaign, which suggests only having two children, should be put to a stop.
"Don't make it mandatory to only have two kids, there should be no more of such campaigns. Try for four, five, or six," Koster said, as quoted by Bali Express.
As reported by Antara, the head of Bali's Citizenship and Civil Records Agency, I Gusti Agung Ketut Kartika Jaya Seputra said the new campaign will be locally known as "KB Krama Bali" and is aimed at achieving more effective and intense engagement with the Balinese people.
Seputra added that his office will work closely with Putri's PKK team in order to reach more people.
"This program will not only advise citizens to have more than two kids, but it will also consider other aspects from a family planning perspective, much in line with the original national family planning program," Seputra said.