Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Sunday said modern Indian women want to stay single and are unwilling to give birth to children. Terming it as a paradigm shift which is "not good", he went on to add that Indian women are unwilling to give birth even after marriage and desire children by surrogacy. He blamed “western influence” on Indian society and added that youngsters do not want their parents to live with them anymore.
He was speaking at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences (NIMHANS) on an event on the ocassion of World Mental Health Day. Meanwhile, his remarks went viral and evoked severe criticism on social media.
Now, the Karnataka Health Minister has said that this remarks were based on a survey.
"First of all I would like to convey that I am myself a proud father of a daughter and I am also a medical doctor by training. So I fully understand the sensitivities around women and also the mental health issues that are concerning us," K Sudhakar told news agency ANI. "It is widely established through research and studies that, in a situation where the mental health resource is a scarcity, families form a valuable support system, which could be helpful in management of various stressful situations," he added.
K Sudhakar said Indian society is collectivistic and promotes social cohesion and interdependence. "The traditional Indian joint family, which follows the same principles of collectivism, has proved itself to be an excellent resource for the care of the mentally ill," he added.
He said his statement about younger generation shying away from marriage and reproduction is based on a survey. "The findings of YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey shows that, among millennials, 19% aren’t interested in either children or marriage," he said. "Another 8% want children but are not interested in marriage. Among post-millennials (or Gen Z adults), 23% aren’t interested in either children or marriage. As in the case of millennials, 8% want children but are not interested in marriage," he added.
The Karnataka Health Minister further said he was only trying to convey was "that our youth can find solution and solace to mental health issues in our traditional family and its value system which offers a wonderful support system". "I had no intention to single out women nor did my words mean so," he added.