COLOMBO, June 20, 2001 ( – Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has lamented the UN funded and promoted population control schemes which have deprived his country of sufficient manpower to defend themselves and staff their religious temples. Wickremanayake is now proposing a scheme to boost the country’s population of young people by providing baby bonuses for families with more than two children in direct contrast to the UN population-control rhetoric which was trumpeted by the island government since the 1970s.

According to reports in the BBC and AFP, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) regards Sri Lanka as a success with its intervention leading to the country’s birth rate plummeting to 1.4 (far below the 2.1 replacement rate) in 1999. A UNFPA information page on Sri Lanka boasts of having been active in promoting population reduction in the country since 1969. It also reveals that another 7.6 million was pumped into population control promotion in Sri Lanka for 1997-2000, leading critics to wonder at the UN’s motives behind depleting the population despite the country’s abysmal birth rate.

A local newspaper quotes Wickremanayake as saying that his campaign to enlist 10,000 soldiers to the army and another 2,000 to the Buddhist clergy failed because people opted for small families. On Sunday the prime minister encouraged his citizens to “concentrate on producing more children” in a launch of his “bigger is better” campaign. AFP remarks that the new direction comes in sharp contrast to the government’s “small is beautiful” family planning drive more than two decades ago.

See the BBC and AFP coverage at:

See the UNFPA sheet on Sri Lanka at: