IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


30th January, 2024 Health


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Picture Courtesy: www.thebetterindia.com

Context: Dr. Nitya Anand, a renowned scientist known for discovering India's first oral contraceptive pill 'Saheli,' passed away at the age of 99 after a prolonged illness.

About Dr. Nitya Anand

  • Discovery of Saheli: Nitya Anand is renowned for discovering India's first oral contraceptive pill, 'Saheli.' 'Saheli' is a non-steroidal, non-hormonal, once-a-week oral contraceptive. It was a groundbreaking innovation in contraceptive methods.
  • Role at CDRI: He served as the former director of the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) from 1974 to 1984. Dr. Anand has been associated with CDRI since its inception in 1951.
  • Prolific Career: Anand's prolific career included the publication of over 400 research papers and holding more than 130 patents. He supervised the research work of 100 PhD students, showcasing his dedication to academic and scientific advancement.
  • Saheli's Launch: 'Saheli,' also known as 'Centchroman,' was launched in 1986 by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. It gained recognition as the world's first and only non-steroidal, non-hormonal, once-a-week oral contraceptive pill.
    • Saheli' is distinctive as it remains the only non-steroidal, non-hormonal contraceptive pill globally. In 2016, it was incorporated into the National Family Programme of India.
  • Awards and Recognition: Nitya Anand received the Padma Shri, one of India's highest civilian honours, in recognition of his significant contributions to science and medicine.


  • Dr Nitya Anand's groundbreaking work in the field of contraceptives, especially the discovery of 'Saheli,' has had a lasting impact on women's health and family planning in India. His contributions to science and medicine have left an indelible mark on the pharmaceutical landscape in the country.


Q. Beyond traditional population control measures, what alternative approaches could India consider to address the challenges associated with a large and growing population? Could investments in education, healthcare, family planning infrastructure, and environmental sustainability offer more sustainable and effective solutions in the long run?