21 August 2023
The International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) is distressed to learn about the suspension of Professor KS James, Director and Senior Professor of the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) by the Government of India.
Professor James is well-known nationally and internationally as one of India’s finest demographers whose intellectual contributions and personal integrity are widely respected. His leadership of IIPS has strengthened IIPS as a leading institute for training and research, has enhanced its reputation for the world's largest population surveys, producing reliable data, and rigorous analysis that allows for insights into India’s development indicators over time and place.
Academic integrity, and notably the integrity of reliable and objectively produced data are critical to build evidence as well as to inform programme- and policy-decisions. Professor James has striven to ensure the credibility of data from India, an achievement appreciated by scientists within India and globally, including UN agencies. Independence in the production of data must be ensured, and any attempt to suppress this endeavour, for political or other reasons, must be strongly denounced.
In 2021, India was to host the 29th International Population Conference (IPC), a prestigious conference typically attracting almost 2000 participants. Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, the conference had to be held virtually. As a member of the IPC steering group, Prof James made valuable contributions to content and format, and ensured that despite the virtual status of the conference, India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare made a prominent statement that was available, even after the conference ended, on the IUSSP website.
The IUSSP holds Prof James in high regard for his scientific contributions and personal integrity, and urges the Government of India to revoke his suspension forthwith.