Pandurang Vasudeo Sukhatme received PhD (1936) and DSc (1939) degrees from University of London, UK. He was Research Professor, Iowa State University, USA (1951-52); Regents’ Professor, University of California, Berkeley, USA (1971-72); Statistical Adviser, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi (1941-51); and Director, Statistics Division, FAO (UN) (1951-71).
Academic and Research Achievements: Sukhatme developed the theory of non-sampling errors. He also made statistical designs for developing hybrid varieties. His book on World’s Hunger, helped to destroy the myth that two-thirds of the world is hungry and malnourished and showed that diet and disease are the basic components of health but between the two, the latter is more important for rural development. He also showed that behaviour of man has its origin in the mind-brain interaction under a sustained change in external environment and therefore the key to transforming man and society lies in improving communication through education with yoga as its spearhead so that man can develop into a citizen who is responsible to the society and nation at large. He authored six books including: Sampling Theory of Surveys with Applications (1954) and The World’s Hunger and Future Needs in Food Supplies (Royal Statistical Society, London, 1961).
Other Contributions: Sukhatme showed that: (i) the rural areas in the country primarily suffer not so much from lack of food as from morbidity resulting from lack of essential living conditions, and (ii) through projects like Indira Community kitchen, the poor can help the poor to provide food for all on no-profit no-loss basis. He also edited the book Newer Concepts in Nutrition and Their Implications for Policy (Maharashtra Association for the Cultivation of Science, 1982). He served as Member, INSA Council (1950-51, 1979).
Awards and Honours: Professor Sukhatme was conferred the Guy Medal by Statistical Society, London (1963); BC Guha Memorial Lecture Award by Indian Science Congress (1965); Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial Lecture Award by IARI (1977); BD Tilak Lecture Award by INSA (1983); Hari Om Ashram Trust Award by UGC; and Padma Bhushan (1973). He was elected Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, Indian Academy of Sciences, Maharashtra Academy of Sciences, and Indian Society for Medical Statistics; Honorary Fellow, Statistical Societies of USA, Japan and other countries; Vice President, International Statistical Institute and Biometric Society; and President, International Association of Survey Statisticians and International College of Nutrition, Indian Society of Agricultural Statistics and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi.