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ISLAMABAD: The 2.4pc population growth rate revealed in the 2018 census has alarmed government planners, as it is much higher than the estimations used for development planning Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Sartaj Aziz said on Thursday.

Mr Aziz was speaking at a reception held to welcome Population Council President Julia Bunting, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan.

According to a statement, he said the government recognises the need to reduce the population growth rate to ensure sustainable development.

“There is a need for better trained demographers, economists, and statisticians especially in the Planning Commission as we embark on the SDG 2030 agenda and for overall development planning,” he said.

Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Chairperson Marvi Memon said at the event that BISP, the Population Council and the Punjab government were exploring the possibility of implementing a pilot to test conditional grants linked to voluntary family planning, to meet the requirement for reproductive health services, on the same model that BISP has used to incentivise education and nutrition.

In her remarks, Ms Bunting said the Population Council conducted biomedical, social science, and public health research and helped build research capacities in developing countries.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2018