Demographer Srinivasan 1st Indian to win IUSSP award
CHENNAI: K Srinivasan, a leading expert in demography in the country, became the first Indian to be chosen for the prestigious International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) Laureate Award for 2023. The Chennaiite has served as a member of the National Statistics Commission and Planning Commission’s working group on population policy.
The recognition, considered the top international award in the field, honours exceptional achievements in the advancement of population sciences through research, training, policy advice and science communication, as well as distinguished services rendered to the population community and the union.
Speaking to DT Next, he said, unlike China, India has succeeded in its non-coercive population control policy. “Our democratic approach to population stabilisation has worked, as the two-child policy has percolated through education and a democratic procedure,” he said, comparing the one-child policy of China.
Referring to a private member’s bill (since withdrawn) to disincentivise couples from having more than two kids, he said the results were being achieved without any compulsion. Also, the religious gap on this front had been narrowed down. “Why should you kill the goose which lays the eggs,” the 87-year-old professor asked, noting that he was not in favour of such policies from a national perspective though it could be considered from a state’s viewpoint.
Tamil Nadu, which has a low fertility rate of 1.8, is a pioneer as it paved the way in the fertility reduction programme through sterilisation. However, he said he was not in favour of this method, as the burden is on women.
In a career that spanned more than five decades, Prof Srinivasan has trained thousands from India, and other countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan and Nepal. One of his students rose to become the chief of China’s family planning commission. As part of his UN assignment, he was responsible for Australia, China and India.
Prof Srinivasan is keen that knowledge of population should be diffused to all in the country. “It should be like weather, where you are updated on the fundamentals of population, be it country size and awareness of State-wise data,” he said.