Sunday, March 13, 2011

Decreasing sex ratio in country

Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Women and Child Development in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on March 3 shared sex-ratio (females/ males) in the Country and State-wise, as per Census 1981, 1991 and 2001indicate that sex ratio has declined from 934 (as per 1981 census) to 927 ( as per 1991 census) and has increased to 933 (as per 2001 census). The reasons for high number of incidence of female foeticide in India include a deep rooted traditional son preference, continued practice of dowry and concern for safety of the girl child and exploitation and abuse of women and girl children. In order to curb female foeticide and improve the sex ratio, Government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy which includes legislative measures, advocacy, awareness generation and programmes for socio-economic empowerment of women.

Under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994, sex selective abortions are made punishable. The Government in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is responsible for administration of this Act and its implementation is the responsibility of the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations. Further, foeticide is also punishable under Section 315 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both. Legislations such as Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 seek to penalise the perpetrators of these social evils.

As a part of the measures taken to change the mind set of society, Government of India has been implementing on a pilot basis ‘Dhanalakshmi’, scheme for incentivising birth of the Girl Child. A number of States have been implementing their own schemes to incentivise the birth of a girl child and encourage families to place a premium on her education and development through Conditional Cash Transfer schemes.

Socio-economic empowerment of women is essential for making informed decisions and for change of the mind sets. The Government of India has undertaken a number of initiatives for this, such as Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP), The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act(MGNREGA), National Rural Livelihood Mission(NRLM) and loans through the Rashtriya Mahila Kosh. This should go a long way in empowering women and enable them to take decisions about the birth of children, their spacing, retain girl children and improve the nutritional and educational status.

To create national awareness on issues relating to girl child, in 2009, Ministry of Women and Child Development has declared January 24 as the National Girl Child Day. On this day, besides the Central Government, the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations undertake advocacy measures to improve the status of girl child in their respective States/ Union Territories.

Meghalaya sex ratio favourable to women

Meghalaya sex ratio favours women and the number of women per thousand men in the state is higher than the national average. Meghalaya has a higher sex ratio of 972 women to 1000 men, which is greater than the national average of 933 women to 1000 men though it is lower than Kerala where 1058 women outnumber every count of 1000 men.

This was shared by Chairperson of the Meghalaya State Women Commission, Susanna K Marakfact at a recently held workshop on Rights of Girl Child and Future Implications of Imbalanced Sex Ratio. Meghalaya, indigenous communities follow a matrilineal system where equal rights are accorded to men, women and children. However worrying trend is that incidents of rape and various forms of abuses against girls have started increasing in the state.

Gender imbalance in China

In January 2010 the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) showed what can happen to a country when girl babies don’t count. Within ten years, the academy said, one in five young men would be unable to find a bride because of the dearth of young women—a figure unprecedented in a country at peace.

The number is based on the sexual discrepancy among people aged 19 and below. According to CASS, China in 2020 will have 30m-40m more men of this age than young women. For comparison, there are 23m boys below the age of 20 in Germany, France and Britain combined and around 40m American boys and young men. So within ten years, China faces the prospect of having the equivalent of the whole young male population of America, or almost twice that of Europe’s three largest countries, with little prospect of marriage, untethered to a home of their own and without the stake in society that marriage and children provide. The country's sex ratio of newborns stood at 119.45 boys to 100 girls in 2009, according to the latest figure announced by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in February. Experts have suggested more effective action against illegal pregnancy gender scans and discrimination of women so as to curb the sex ratio imbalance in China.

913 to 908 over decade: sex ratio dips in Maharashtra

Swatee Kher of Indian Express reports from Mumbai.
Maharashtra might claim to be among the most progressive states in the country, but the girl child continues to remain under threat. The latest figures available with the state government indicate that the sex ratio is 908 per 1,000 boys in the 0-6 age group, a drop from the 2001 census figure of 913 girls per 1,000 boys. The sex ratio is measured by the number of births of a girl per thousand boys in each district.

The recent figures are based on the enumeration done at anganwadi centres, where lactating mothers and children under six are provided nutrition and care. Of the 33 districts accounted for till June 2009, there are 14 districts having a sex ratio below 900 girls per 1,000 boys. Beed is the lowest with a ratio of only 848 girls per 1,000 boys. The figures in Beed have dropped from 894 to 848, in Jalgaon from 880 to 854, Aurangabad from 890 to 888 and Buldhana from 908 to 867.

Except Pune, where the figure has dropped from 902 girls to 895 girls per 1,000 boys, regions of Satara, Kolhapur and Sangli have reported an increase in sex ratio. Though the compilation does not include Mumbai figures, the data with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in 2008 had revealed an estimated average ratio for 2005 of 90girls per 1,000 boys.

“Maharashtra is doing better than states like Punjab; we are ranked fifth in the country. However, the recent figures are good indicators and they are a cause of worry. That is the reason we are focusing on the five districts for awareness campaign,” said Minister for Public Health Suresh Shetty. The government will launch an intensive awareness campaign in Pune, Satara, Kolhapur, Beed and Jalgaon.
The Economic Survey 2009-’10 had also expressed concern over the decline in sex ratio. “The projected sex ratio is likely to decline from the actual 922 during 2001 to 919 during 2006 and 915 during 2011, which is a matter of concern... The proportion of males is expected to increase slightly, that is 52.1 per cent during 2011 as compared to 52 per cent during 2001.” The population of the state may reach 11.27 crore during 2011.

Himachal Sex Ratio Improved : Chief Minister

As per the State’s latest evaluation Sex ratio in Himachal Pradesh has improved from 904 for 1000 males in 2008 to 922. This was said by Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal at event organized to mark government's 'Beti Hai Anmol' programme. 'Beti Hai Anmol' is a State programme under which Rs 5,100 is deposited in the account of two baby girls from Below the poverty line families. In addition to making education free in the state, BPL girl children were also being given scholarships ranging from Rs 300 in class I to Rs 1,500 at plus two level, added the Chief Minister at the event. Seeking public support for checking female feticide, he said, "Anyone giving information on femicide or prenatal sex determination would be suitable rewarded and their identity would be kept secret'.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Haryana needs women empowerment to stop female foeticide

ANI reports that Haryana Education Minister Geeta Bhukkal said that women's empowerment was needed in the State to stop female foeticide since the State's sex ratio has dipped to 808 females for every 1,000 males.The national sex ratio is 933 females for every 1,000 males."In Haryana, it is very necessary to impart the awareness about decreasing sex ratio. There are some genetic problems also and the government is very worried about this, and regarding this we celebrated Girl Day with Bhupinder Singh Hooda Haryana Chief Minister as the chief guest. We have programmes for the same and hope that there would be improvement in the scenario," said Bhukkal.The State's Chief Medical Officer V. K. Govila said they have cracked down on clinics offering the service of pre-natal sex determination."We are trying to revive the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PNTD Act), raids are being made more effective. We have also cancelled one ultrasound centre and have given notices to two other centers. We have debarred the operator's of the ultrasound clinics," said Govila."In Rohtak, currently there are 808 girls for 1000 boys," he added

Monday, November 1, 2010

For all unborn daughters, a mom ready to dive

Interesting story from Chandigarh reported by Gajinder Singh in The Telegraph, Kolkata Edition
Archana Sardana, 38, wants to jump from Delhi’s TV tower in support of the girl child, but has not got permission yet. Three years ago, the mother of two had become one of India’s first women skydivers. 'I have approached the tourism and sports ministers and officials seeking permission to spread awareness against female foeticide through my sport. I want to jump from Delhi’s TV tower in Pitampura with the Indian flag and a message to allow girls to live,” she said.

Sardana, who took up skydiving after marrying a naval officer, said she wants to plead for an end to female foeticide in Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, three states with a dismal sex ratio. “My vision for Indian women is to break the glass ceiling and achieve greater heights, to prove to the world that Indian women are second to none,” she said.

Born in Jammu in 1972, Sardana completed her schooling from Srinagar and graduated with science. She also has a diploma in interior design. Encouraged by her husband and in-laws, she took the adventure, basic and advanced mountaineering courses from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, and the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi.

“I am even prepared to skydive on the highest drop zone in the world near Mount Everest with the Indian Tricolour to prove that girls are equal to if not better than boys. I want to demolish the myth that women cannot take up extreme adventure sports because of physical reasons,” said Sardana, who is India’s only woman base jumper (those who jump from buildings, antennas, spans and cliffs). Sardana is now scouting tall structures in India to jump from to spread her message.

“I have received assurances from many quarters on my way of spreading awareness. It is very hard to get permission as there are many agencies, from the local level to even defence related ones, involved. But I am hopeful that I will emerge victorious,” she said. That permission is not easy to get is clear from her visit to a senior bureaucrat in Delhi who advised her to shelve her plans as they amounted to committing suicide.

Sardana lamented there was no scope for civilian skydivers in India. “Apart from the defence services, there are no proper training facilities available here. I have been skydiving and jumping from buildings and cliffs in the US and Malaysia because I cannot do that here on my own,” she said, adding she sold jewellery to fund some of her training and jumps in the US. On one of her trips to that country, Sardana witnessed a large number of American women jump to spread breast cancer awareness and make a record formation in the air. Her proudest moment was to skydive with the Tricolour in California’s Perris Valley last year. Sardana has completed 238 jumps and has a “C” licence from the United States Parachute Association.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Politicians, religious leaders condemn foeticide

New Delhi April 17, 2010 - Politicians and religious leaders today came together to condemn female foeticide and launch an awareness drive against the menace. Union ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde, Sriprakash Jaiswal and Sachin Pilot were unanimous in their condemnation of the practice. They were speaking at a programme organised by Celebrate Life Peace Foundation, an organisation started by Acharya Lokesh Muni. The foundation launched a year-long programme to create awareness among people to protect girl children.

"Female foeticide is a big menace. This initiative to create awareness against it is a timely and important step," Shinde said. Jaiswal said people should not discriminate between girls and boys.

Regretting the trend of female foeticide, Pilot said such practice is against the cultural tradition of the country. Muni asked members of the foundation to create awareness against female foetice, protect women and work for peace and happiness.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Silent demonstration in Gwalior

Gwalior, Feb 20 : Hundreds of people gathered on the streets of Gwalior on Thursday to take part in a silent demonstration against female infanticide and foeticide. Holding banners with the slogans 'Save Daughters' and their mouths masked by a cloth to signify the silenced voice of the girl child, both men and women activists held hands to form a long human chain and stood in solidarity as a part of this rally. Vijay Gupta, Secretary of the Centre for Integrated Development, blamed an archaic mentality still rife in modern-day India for such trends to prevail in the society.

"In India the population of girls has been decreasing. In Madhya Pradesh, the situation is worse than the statistics on India as a whole. In Gwalior, the mentality is still of the past. India's average is 945 girls. In Gwalior there are 888 girls to every 1000 boys. The population is decreasing. Women get ultrasounds done and then have an abortion if they are expecting a girl. They don't want to have the girls, they don't want to let them live," Dr Gupta said.

According to the Indian government, 10 million girls have been killed, either before or immediately after birth, by their parents over the past couple of decades despite a law that the government enacted that bans scan tests forecasting the sex of the baby in the womb.n 1991, there were 888 females to every 1000 males in Gwalior before the figure fell to 841 in 2001.

The government has however bolstered its efforts, on a state and national level, to fight the stigma of giving birth to a girl, resulting in the number of females rising back to 888.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Haryana minister appeals people to fight against social evils

CHANDIGARH: Geeta Bhukkal, Education, Health and Social Justice & Empowerment Minister, Haryana on Sunday called upon the people to extend their wholehearted cooperation to the Government in its efforts to eradicate social evils like female foeticide.

Bhukkal, who was addressing a religious gathering at Jhajjar recently, said that the female foeticide was a blot on the fair name of our society. The social and religious organisations should come forward to educate the people about the implications of this evil. The State Government had implemented a number of schemes to raise the social status of the girl child in the society. But for awakening of the masses, no policy or programmes could be successful no matter how good it is, she added.

Monday, January 4, 2010

NCC cadets pledge to fight female foeticide

Lucknow: NCC cadets, on Monday, pledged to fight against the social evil of female foeticide. A formal pledge ceremony was organised by the 63rd UP Battalion of NCC at the Army Parade Ground wherein the cadets, officers and assistant officers pledged that they would never indulge in this heinous act of sex-selection. Not only this, they would also work against elimination of this social evil, pledged the cadets. In his address to the cadets, Commanding Officer, Major Sudhir Kshrisagar said that it was quite ironical that people worship goddess Durga, Mother Mary and Bibi Fatima and then kill unborn girls in the womb.

U'khand allocates Rs 16 cr for Nandadevi Kanya scheme

Dehradun, Jan 3 (PTI) Uttarakhand government has allocated Rs 16 crore for the Nandadevi Kanya scheme, aimed at ending the gender divide, in the current financial year, Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has said. Under the scheme, newborn girl child from Below Poverty Line families are given a fixed deposit cheque of Rs 5,000 that can be encashed when the girl attains 18 years of age, Nishank said, adding that the government has allocated Rs 16 crore for the plan.Only two girl children from each family can avail the scheme. No loans can be taken against the fixed deposit, he said.The scheme was launched to check child marriage, female foeticide and to provide women empowerment, Nishank added.

20 villages of Punjab pledge against female foeticide

Punjab, along with gurdwara committees and youth clubs of the respective villages, got together and pledged to fight against female foeticide and growing menace of drug addiction amongst youth during a seminar organised at Daad village here. The seminar was orgnised by Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle at a gurdwara, in which 20 villages falling in the vicinity of Pakhowal took part.

The village panchayats also decided to boycott the “kudimaar” (girl killer) villages, if the sex ratio in these villages was found to be skewed. They pledged that they would not marry their children in villages that killed female children in womb. “We will not make matches with boys and girls of ‘girl killer’ villages. This is our resolve,” was the punch line of sarpanch Sukhdeep Singh.

He spoke about growing cases of female foeticide in the state. “Girls are our fortune. We need to understand that,” he said adding that the city and its surrounding towns were also contributing to the menace. He added that panchayats should step in and discourage the sale of medical drugs that were sold by chemists unabatedly in villages. He also said panchayats should take a pledge to fight against drug peddling.

Punjab tops in number of female foeticide cases

New Delhi, Dec 15 (PTI) Punjab tops the list in number of female foeticide cases reported over the last three years with Rajasthan coming next. The country as a whole reported 294 cases during the same period.According to figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau, in Punjab, 81 cases were registered for female foeticide while for Rajasthan the corresponding number was 51. Madhya Pradesh registered 21 cases, Haryana 18 and Chattisgarh 24.In Rajasthan, the number of cases registered has shown a steady decline since the last three years with 25, 16 and 10 cases being registered in 2006, 2007 and 2008, Minister of State for Health Dinesh Trivedi said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha. The National Capital saw seven cases registered in 2006, four in 2007 and two in 2008.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Combating female foeticide/infanticide - Ministers reply in Rajya Sabha

To combat the practice of female foeticide and infanticide in the country through misuse of technology, done surreptitiously with the active connivance of the service providers and the persons seeking such service, the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act was enacted on September 20, 1994 by the Government of India. The Act was amended in 2003 to improve regulation of technology capable of sex selection and to arrest the decline in the child sex ratio as revealed by the Census 2001 and with effect from 14.02.2003, due to the amendments, the Act is known as the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994. The main purpose of enacting the PC&PNDT (prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 has been to:
i) Ban the use of sex selection techniques before or after conception
ii) Prevent the misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex selective abortions
iii) Regulate such techniques Stringent punishments have been prescribed under the Act for using pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic techniques to illegally determine the sex of the foetus.
The appropriate Authorities at the District and State levels are empowered to search, seize and seal the machines, equipments and records of the violators. The sale of certain diagnostic equipment is restricted only to the bodies registered under the Act.
The Government has also taken various steps to support implementation of the legislation, including through constitution of a National Inspection & Monitoring Committee (NIMC), Central and State Supervisory Boards, capacity building of implementing agencies, including the judiciary and public prosecutors and community awareness generation through PRIs and community health workers such as Auxiliary Nursing Midwives (ANMs) and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs). The Census 2001 figures reveal that the child sex ration for the age group of 0-6 years is comparatively lower in Pubjab (798), Haryana (819), Chandigarh (845), Delhi (868), Gujarat (883), Himachal Pradesh (896) and Rajasthan (909) as compared to the national average pf 927 girls per thousand boys. Though there is no established causal relationship between adverse sex ratio and spurt in cases of sex related crimes, this could be one of the factors resulting in some forms of violence against women. This information was given by Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Shri Dinesh Trivedi in written reply to a question raised in Rajya Sabha today.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Raksha Bandhan with a difference

The Hindu
AHMEDABAD: It was a “Raksha Bandhan” celebration with a difference. The tradition of sisters tying “rakhis” on the hands of brothers was reversed. Instead, the boys did that for the girls.
For about 700 boys and girls, students of the local H. K. Arts College, it was a symbol of their vow to stop female foeticide. In fact, the original theme of the Raksha Bandhan in north India was of the brothers protecting the sisters. But it eventually gave way to the sisters tying rakhi, praying for happiness and long life for the brothers. In a way, the Ahmedabad college students have returned to the original theme.

A first
Professor Gaurang Jani, who conceived the idea of reverse raksha bandhan, said it was perhaps the first time anywhere in the country that the boys tied the rakhi on girls. “The event was organised to educate the men of the dangers of female foeticide and the need to protect the girl child,” he said. The Women’s Development Cell of the college organised the event with the support of a local voluntary organisation. And the students participated whole-heartedly.
Considering the alarming decrease in the sex ratio in the country, particularly in some states like Gujarat where it is less than 830 per 1,000 males, the idea is worth emulating.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Powerful camapign on female foeticide launched in Punjab

Ludhiana: In an effort to give voice to the unborn girl child,activists in Punjab have launched a powerful campaign against female foeticide that includes inviting people for an ‘Antim ardas’, or last rites. “I am daughter of India. I am like your daughters who are playing in your premises, who are bringing laurels to the nation like Sunita Williams, Kiran Bedi, Kalpana Chawla, Sania Mirza etc. But there is difference between me and all of you as I have been killed in the womb of my mother itself,” read the invite from the Universal Public Service Organisation (UPSO,a an NGO leading this campaign.

The invitation to the ‘Antim ardas’ at a gurdwara could perhaps qualify to be the most powerful message against female foeticide in a state. In first Ardas over 400 people came for the prayer meeting held by the NGO at the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar in Daba village. They plan to take this further and will be going to Hardwar (In Uttarakhand) and Kiratpur Sahib (in Punjab's Ropar district) for performing the final rites of Punjab's unborn daughters. At the ceremony, touching poems against female foeticide, the plight of the girl child and stories from holy scriptures were told to the gathering to drive home the point.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Better sex ratio to get DMs awards

Times of India

To correct the skewed sex ratio, the women and child development ministry is planning to institute awards for district magistrates who improve sex ratio in their districts.

The ministry is also embarking on a massive national level awareness and sensitisation programme on a sustained basis to check female foeticide. Non-government organisations, media, entertainment industry, spiritual leaders, medical fraternity and youth will be involved in a big way as agents of social change in the campaign. WCD minister Renuka Chowdhury said pre-natal sex determination and female foeticide was more prevalent in urban, educated and prosperous classes.

"Female foeticide is an extreme manifestation of violence against women. Female foetuses are selectively aborted. As a result, about 10 lakh girls are missing from the Indian population," she said.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Female infanticide: Stop barbaric practice

Prashant Mukherjee

A young mother had to poison her baby because it was a girl. It’s high time we end this barbaric practice. Now is the time to energise efforts to put gender equality at the top of international peace and development agenda.

LAKSHMI HAD a daughter, so when she gave birth to a second girl, she killed her. For the three days of her second child’s short span of life, Lakshmi admits, she refused to nurse her. To silence the infants famished cries, the impoverished village women squeezed the milky sap from an coriander shrub, mixed it with castor oil and propel the poisonous potion down the newborn’s throat. The baby bled from the nose then died soon afterwards. Female neighbours sympathised with Lakshmi and in the same circumstances, some would probably have done what she did.

When you look around this audience and see so many distinguished and accomplished ladies from all corners of the globe, it would be easy to think that this challenge has been overcome. But we all know of course, from our own country and our own experience that this is not the case.

When we celebrate progress, we know that it has been too slow. More than 50 yrs of independence, it is still a women’s face we see when we speak of poverty, of HIV/AIDS, of violent conflicts and social upheaval.

The case tells us where we are today but more importantly provides a route map for the future. By providing a comparative analysis, it allows us to learn from the experiences of countries that have had greater success.

Let us assert once again that each women and girl is a unique and at the same time valuable human being, who is entitled to equal opportunities and universally adopted human rights, no matter where she is born or where she lives.

Now is the time to energise efforts to put gender equality at the top of international peace and development agenda.

Source -

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

'Affluent families indulge in female foeticide'

Sreeparna Chakrabarty in New Delhi

Affluent families in posh areas of the country's metropolises are routinely indulging in female foeticide to fulfill their quest for a male child, according to latest government figures.

Providing proof that high levels of literacy and per capita incomes have no bearing on the mindset of people in the posh areas of Delhi and Mumbai, recent government figures show that in high-income South Delhi, the sex-ratio was 762, while in Mumbai's Borivali it was 728 and 887 in Goregaon and Andheri West.

"It can now be safely accepted that high-income families with increased access to techniques of sex determination are the ones which are going in for selective abortions rather than the low-income group areas," according to a senior health ministry official.

To counter this, the government was working on a strategy to crack down on mushrooming ultrasound clinics in these areas.

"We are trying to put in a system of accountability for such clinics," a senior Health Ministry official said.

Social activists, however, find fault with the government's strategy of cracking down on the clinics, saying it focuses only on the registration of the number of ultrasounds and not on the actual act of abortions of female foetuses.

"Only 406 violations of the Act have been registered and two doctors have been punished so far," a women's activist and member of the Health Ministry's Advisory committee on Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act told PTI.

"The government's performance has been lackluster in this field," she added.

Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss had recently advocated life sentence as a punishment for those taking recourse to such measures, but a high-level committee to suggest amendments to the PNDT Act to give it more teeth recommended enhancing of the prison term and increase in monetary penalty.

The punishment for such crimes, which was an imprisonment of around 2-5 years till now, has been recommended to be increased to around 5-7 years and the fine raised to at least Rs five lakh.

Ramadoss has time and again expressed his helplessness in implementing the existing laws citing non-cooperation from the states.

The government will hold another round of meeting of the advisory committee in February following which the amendments would be sent to the Parliament for ratification


Friday, December 21, 2007

India's Legal Abortions Kill 80,000 Women Annually, Local Expert Says

by Steven Ertelt, Editor
December 20,

New Delhi, India ( -- A medical expert in India says an estimated 80,000 women die from legal abortions there on an annual basis. The figures provide further evidence that abortion does not became safer if legalized, as unlicensed and unregulated abortion practitioners pose as much of a threat to women's health as illegal abortions.

Dr. Hema Divakar, the chair of the Federation of Obsteric and Gynecological Societies in India discussed the abortion deaths in an interview.She told the PTI news service that a majority of the abortions done in India involve untrained abortion practitioners.

Divakar said the answer to the problem of women dying from abortions is to promote the morning after pill. She cited figures showing 78 percent of pregnancies in India are unplanned and said women would not resort to abortion if they used the pill and didn't become pregnant.

However, previous reports show that abortion numbers in Scotland rose after an aggressive effort to promote the morning after pill there. The Scotland government reported 13,081 abortions in 2006, up from 12,603 the previous year -- an increase of nearly 3.8 percent.

Abortion is causing other problems in India as a new report shows the gender imbalance there is growing worse as a result of infanticides and sex-selection abortions.

Researchers from relief group ActionAid examined a sample of 6,500 households in the Indian states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

They found that the male-female ratio grew worse in four of the states compared with the figures from 2001.

According to a Reuters report, upper class Hindu areas of Punjab's Fatehgarh Sahib district had the worst rates as the organization found only 300 girls for every 1,000 boys living there.

"These sex ratios are disastrous," Mary John, a researcher from the Centre for Women Development Studies in New Delhi, told Reuters.

She said the new numbers reflect a trend of having smaller families. Couples are choosing to have only one child and deciding to only have a boy. India follows the beliefs of other Asian nations in favoring boys to carry on work and family names and because girls must have expensive dowries upon their marriage.

John said the skewed gender ratios occurred in virtually every community regardless of socioeconomic status, race or religion.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In a selective mode

Edit, Hindustan Times, Decmber 11, 2007

The means and manner in which female foeticide and infanticide have been addressed in our country are worthy of intense scrutiny. The latest suggestion has been offered by Minister of Health Anbumani Ramadoss in the Rajya Sabha, and will soon be discussed by the Central Supervisory Board, the body tasked with enforcing the Pre-natal Diagnostics Techniques Act (PNDT) and headed by the minister.

The minister intends to make the penalties for violation of the PNDT Act more stringent, including life-term. Considering that battling female foeticide and infanticide has been an ongoing war with limited results, stricter monitoring is certainly welcome. But one wonders whether it is the existing penalties that fail as deterrents or the inability to push through charges and close the loop of justice. For in the same breath, the minister himself has gone on to say that the conviction rate is extremely poor. So, more severe penalties are unlikely to improve the conviction rate.

The steadily declining sex ratio in the country, especially in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh — home to some of the most affluent sections in India — cannot be corrected through the confiscation of ultrasound machines or giving incentives to families where girls are born either. Which brings us to the crux of the problem. Delicensing of practitioners should be an immediate step, pending acquittal. In the current status, the onus should be on the doctor to prove his innocence.

It has been established that sex selection and foeticide, the worst form of discrimination against girls, is chiefly practised among wealthy, educated (if they can be called that) urban families. What purpose do incentives serve here? On the other hand, the medical fraternity and support staff are known to misguide the poorer, illiterate patients on ultrasound results, playing on anti-girl prejudices and encouraging abortions, all under the guise of ‘guidance’. The minister may want to review the modalities of the successful experiment by district level officers in a cluster of 79 villages near Ludhiana a couple of years ago. Deterrence (enforcing the law), counselling (community education) peer pressure (holding last rites after abortions to unnerve the family and doctors) and incentives for informers were the tools used to bring about an appreciable change in attitude.

Incentivising informants is a good idea, as is random supervision of the 32,000 ultrasound clinics in the country. Roping in the judiciary towards improving conviction rates is also a positive step. But at the end of the day, are there enough foot soldiers to carry out the battle of supervision? State governments must have a greater level of accountability for their state’s enforcement of the PNDT Act. Public campaigns are a must but a slower route towards impacting mindsets. Let’s just start with curbing doctors’ malpractices and find the means to push through convictions.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Foeticide may carry life term

Health minister Anbumani Ramadoss told the Rajya Sabha on Friday that the government intends to make life imprisonment as a penalty for violations of the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994. He said that central supervisory board for implementation of the PNDT Act is slated to meet next week and this issue of life imprisonment could be taken up. He informed the house that there were 403 pending cases and 132 ultrasound machines have been seized and sealed under this law. In this year, about 125 cases have been reported and there have been four convictions. He acknowledged that the conviction rate was low as foeticide is a clandestine affair.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Licence of Delhi Gynaecolgist suspended after BBC report

Licence of Indian gynaecologist was suspended after a BBC report into female foeticide. Dr Mangala Telang a Delhi based gynaecolgist was filmed offering an illegal ultrasound scan, although she denied any wrongdoing. Her two Delhi clinics have been shut down. The BBC had sent a British couple to one of Dr Telang's clinics in Delhi after hearing that her clinic would offer ultrasound scans to determine the sex of a baby. In the BBC film, Dr Telang was caught agreeing to perform the scan to determine whether the woman's unborn child was a boy or a girl - even though a sign in the waiting room clearly said the practice was illegal. As per the story on BBC web site Dr Telang had told the BBC team she could recommend someone to carry out an abortion if the foetus was female. Despite India's strict laws to prevent female foeticide, prosecutions remain rare, adds BBC web site

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Indian women in UK aborting daughters

Indian women in the UK are aborting daughters in order to have more boys, an Oxford University study has found. The research indicates that 1,500 girls have gone 'missing' from the birth statistics in England and Wales since 1990. Dr Sylvie Dubuc, who studies human geography and population at Oxford University, studied birth rates of different ethnic groups in England and Wales, and was surprised by what she found "According to my calculation, around 1,500 girls are missing. It's significant compared to the total number of births," she said.

Dr Dubuc found that the proportion of boys over girls has increased over time abnormally. The most probable explanation, she said, seemed to be sex selective abortion by a minority of mothers born in India.

According to a BBC report, it was not just women born in India who were prepared to go to extremes to ensure they have a male heir, even British women following in the footsteps of their Indian counterparts. BBC claims an estimated seven million girls have gone missing from India's population over the last 25 years. Selective abortion is happening all over India as ultrasound machines have become cheaper, but it has always been worst in Punjab and Gujarat.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

10 lakh girls missing ?

Punjab, India: Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Minister for Health of the state said that around 10 lakh persons were killed during the partition of the country but after the partition of country over 10 lakh woman were killed in female foeticide.

While presiding over state level seminar of IMA at BBSBEC, Fatehgarh Sahib,Punjab Chawla said that due to trend of female foeticide, which in encouraging trading of women. He said that in other states woman are selling for only Rs 5,000 while is buffalo is selling in Rs 25,000. She said that under ‘Asha’ scheme of the government 15,000 health workers will be recruited.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gurdwaras to adopt unwanted girls

18 Nov 2007,Balwant Garg,TNN

BATHINDA: It's god and gurdwara now for Punjab's unwanted girl child. Agonized by the state's dipping sex ratio and terror tales of girls, both born and unborn, being killed or left to die, Sikhism's highest temporal body, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC), has announced that it will henceforth step in to adopt the abandoned baby girls.

In its urgent effort to erase Punjab's darkest gender blot, SGPC will soon ask important gurdwaras in Punjab to place cradles at their entrances and exhort unhappy parents obsessed with boys to leave "those innocent children at god's door, not death's".

"We will bear the expenses for bringing up these children. Don't kill them," SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar told a gathering at the Takth Damdama Sahib late Friday evening.

He said the decision had to be taken because of the spurt in cases of abandonment of girls, many of them just born, in public parks, railway compartments, and even garbage heaps.

That men in the state can't find Punjabi women to marry, and are scouting for partners in different cultures and distant places — Tripura, Assam, Jharkhand, Kerala, Orissa and Bengal — has not really deterred Punjabis from doing away with girls as the sex ratio dips to a shocking 793 females to 1,000 males. In Fatehgarh Sahib district, it is an abysmal 754:1000.

Social activist Pam Rajput welcomed the SGPC initiative. "It's a laudable step, though I do feel that SGPC should go beyond it and launch a campaign against female foeticide and issue directions to all gurdwaras to outcast people who kill their infant girls."

Other women activists too cheered the SGPC. Murti Devi, a volunteer who's taken seven abandoned girls under her care, said, "I hope this will lessen incidents of parents deserting innocent babies."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Female foeticide a serious matter, says Renuka

VIJAYAWADA: The number of female children is coming down alarmingly and the present male-female ratio stands at 1000:800 in some northern states including Haryana, Punjab and South Delhi, according to Union Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdary.

Expressing concern over increase in female foeticides, she said that it was a serious matter. She said an action plan would be formulated to launch a campaign from next month to change the mindset of people and to promote female child birth rate.

The Minister said the Government was encouraging projects with private-public partnership to improve medicare and health programmes for the benefit of the poor. She said a medical team from Padua of Italy would visit the Care and Share home at Budhavaram, near here, and perform surgeries free of cost from December 2 to 12.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tribals no strangers to female foeticide

The Hindu special correspondent reports this story.

NEW DELHI: Even as education and technology reach the far-off tribal belts of the country, the practice of female foeticide is also fast making inroads there.

Tribal youth are now going to cities or making use of portable ultrasound machines that provide sex determination ‘services’ at a nominal price.

The practice of sex determination and female foeticide was alien to these communities till recently.

Elders’ fear

Now elders in tribal villages fear that urbanisation will hit tribal villages as youngsters will fall prey to this “style” very soon, says a study conducted by the Pune-based Centre for Youth Development and Activities (CYDA), with support from the United Nations Population Fund.

This fear was expressed by villagers of Badi in Rajasthan, who said that as the educational level went up among their youngsters they tended to adopt certain lifestyles followed by city dwellers.

Quoting a social worker intervening in this area, the study says: “It is being increasingly felt that the issue of female foeticide is entering into the village settings dominated by tribals. Although in the programme area where we work there exist no ultrasound labs, our tribal youth are seen indulging in sex selective practices by going to the cities.”

There are also indications that in rural and tribal areas, where the sex determination technology is not locally accessible, people seek the help of quacks and dais (midwifes) who prescribe herbs/medicines claiming that these will change the sex of the child.

Quoting another social worker in the area, the CYDA study says, “People also use traditional herbs and other medicine to have a male child or to change the sex of the foetus from female to male.”

Performing districts

India’s 10 best performing districts, where the ratio of girls is higher than boys, are mostly dominated by tribal communities, while the 10 worst performing districts are in Punjab and Haryana. The best performing districts are South Sikkim, Upper Siang and East Kameng in Arunachal Pradesh; Bastar and Dantewada in Chhattisgarh; Pulwama, Kupwara and Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir; Senapati in Manipur and Mokukchung in Nagaland.

The access to information, means and technology, and the impact of the pro-sex determination perspective of the urban educated economically well-off sections have influenced some migrant populations of rural India also, a chunk of which are tribal. Technology inroads into semi-urban/rural areas have resulted in an increasing number of people there going in for sex selection. In Maharashtra’s Akluj gram panchayat, a well developed semi-urban area with a population of 40,000, many unqualified people are using portable machines and travelling to interior villages to offer sex determination services on the doorstep for a nominal fee. According to a Tamil Nadu organisation, Rural Rehabilitation Centre, access to technology has led certain communities such as the Kallars in Madurai district, who were traditionally practising female infanticide, to gradually shift to sex determination tests and sex-selective abortions.

Marathi actors join hands to battle female foeticide

Kishore Sharma - | Mumbai

When celebrated names from the Marathi film and television industry like Surekha Punekar, Ashwini Bhave, Kishori Godbole, Resham Tipnis and Varsha Usgaonkar take to the stage for a social cause, one is compelled to sit up and watch.

Making use of their popular show 'Marathi Taraka', 22 actors from the Marathi film and television fraternity have taken up the objective of saving the girl child through a special fiveminute dance ballet. The ballet, based on the theme of female foeticide, has been written by director Mahesh Tilekar, who was instrumental in starting 'Marathi Taraka'.

"The alarming sex ratios in states like Rajasthan and Punjab compelled us to do our bit so that Maharashtra does not reach a situation like that. Since the show ('Marathi Taraka') is being performed in small towns, other than in big cities, we thought of adding this ballet," said Tilekar.

The first show of the ballet, in Kolhapur received a positive response from the 15,000 strong audience, he said. The ballet, to be performed at the end of every show of 'Marathi Taraka', talks about the importance of women in society and the tragic trend of killing the girl child either at birth or as a foetus. With references to women achievers like Rani Laxmibai, Kalpana Chawla and various goddesses, the producers hope to make the people pay heed.

Actor Varsha Usgaonkar, who is part of the initiative, said the actors were more than happy to lend their names to this noble cause. "The sex ratio in India is alarming, and the root cause obviously is female foeticide. Since entertainment is common to all people, we thought that using this mode to spread the message for the girl child would be ideal. It is very sad that even educated people show a high preference for a male child," she stressed.

Tilekar said there would soon be a play based on the same theme. "We are, for the first time, going to have 20 leading actors and 20 actresses from the Marathi film industry perform on the same stage in Pune on November 1, at the Ganesh Kala Krida Rangmanch," said Tilekar.

Actors like Nilu Phule, Bharat Jadhav, Kuldip Pawar, Ramesh Bhatkar, Avinash Nadkar and Tushar Dalvi will perform at the show.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Suneeta Rao's album on Female Foeticide

Suneeta Rao’s new music video for her latest single Sun Zara has the words When you know things are getting real rough – you’ve got to be tough enough. Produced in association with the UNFPA – The United Nations Population Fund, this video has been made for the Girl Child, to address the issue of Sex Selection and to help stop female foeticide.

Directed by Rachel Reuben, shot by ace cinematographer Jason West and produced by Rain Forest Productions, the video has been shot on location in Mumbai. It features Suneeta as an angel on a mission to save a pregnant woman, played by Suchitra Pillai, from eliminating her girl child before she is born under family pressure. The song, Sun Zara has been written and composed by her, with music by Nexus, featuring Gino Banks, Sangeet Haldipur and Sheldon D’Silva.

The video was launched at the Asia Pacific Conference on Sexual and Reproductive Health in Hyderabad on October 30 Suneeta hopes that this will help spread her message to women to assert themselves and not be pushed around or forced into selecting the gender of their child. As a spokesperson for LAADLI, the Girl Child Initiative of the NGO Population First, Suneeta considers this an extension of her efforts towards the cause.

Source - Screen Weekly

Sharp decline in child sex ratio in India: UNFPA

Hyderabad, India - There has been a rapid decline in the male-female child ratio in India during the last two decades due to increasing practice of sex selection and female foeticide, a study by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said.

The ratio of girls per 1,000 boys in the age group 0-6 years declined from 945 in 1991 to 927 during 2001 while in some parts of the country there are less than 800 girls per 1000 boys, an UNFPA report presented at the fourth Asia Pacific conference on reproductive and sexual health which opened here on Monday.

The study covered four Asian countries India, China, Nepal and Vietnam where sex ratio imbalances were alarming.

If Asian continent's overall sex ratio was the same as elsewhere in the world, in 2005 Asia's population would have included almost 163 million more women and girls, the report titled "Sex Ratio Imbalance in Asia" said.

As a consequence of the skewed ratio due discrimination against girl child, the region is likely to witness increased gender-based violence, trafficking, discrimination and general vulnerability of women and girls, the study warned.

The use of technology to determine the sex of the foetus and easy access to it since the early 1980s has contributed to the rapid decline in the child sex ratio, it said.

The states like Pubjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Gujarat and union territory of Chandigarh, have witnessed the ratio decline to less than 900 girls per 1000 boys.

As many as 70 districts in 16 states and union territories have recorded a more than 50 point decline in child sex ratio during the decade 1991-2001.

Blog news

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Govt to amend PC & PNDT Act

The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act or commonly known as the PC-PNDT Act, despite being a very powerful set of laws meant to prevent female foeticide in the country, has hardly been implemented. Now the Union Health ministry is planning to amend the PC-PNDT Act and make district collectors responsible for implementation rather than the chief medical officers.

But is that really the solution? Activists say it's a token gesture by the health ministry to show they are taking the issue seriously. District collectors, usually overburdened, are hardly experts on medical issues and technology. Activists also say the collector may be vulnerable to pressure from political masters and this might weaken the implementation of the law even more ? What do u say ? debate is on but one thing is that there needs to be stress towards implementation of this law.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Ahimsa saves the girl child

PUNE: "As believers in the tenets of 'ahimsa' (non-violence), we Jains don't even kill insects. So how can we kill the girl child?"

Using such emotional appeals based on the fundamental principle of the right to life, coupled with hard data on female foeticide and infanticide, the Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana (BJS) here has claimed to have made a breakthrough in Maharashtra in curbing the crime against the girl child.

Numbering barely 42 million in the ocean of 1.02 billion Indians (2001 census), community elders among the Jains began seeing the impact of a declining sex ratio on the rising unavailablity of eligible girls for marriage.

This first came to light during a mass marriage movement initiated in by BJS president and businessman-social worker, Shantilal Muttha, in 1986-87.

During a 1993 survey of eligible boys and girls (18-25 age-group) in 25,000 Jain families in Maharashtra, the organisation found that there were barely 780 females of marriageable age per 1,000 males. “This worked out to a male-female ratio of 61:39,” BJS national secretary Prafulla Parakh told TOI.

Parakh said the findings were in tune with the national census statistics on declining child sex ratio. While the 2001 census recorded a child sex ratio of 927 girls per 1,000 boys in 0-6 years as against 945 in the 1991 census, Maharashtra's child sex ratio stood at 913 girls per 1,000 boys, declining sharply by 33 per cent from 946 girls in the 1991 census.

These statistics, coupled with the Jain community's difficulties at match-making events, motivated Muttha to address the issue.

Two decades on, the BJS is now convinced that the numerous mass awareness drives and the multi-pronged initiatives that it undertook to discourage female foeticide have borne fruit.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gender tests fuel killing of India's unborn girls

Nita Bhalla, Reuters
The widespread use of illegal tests to determine the sex of an unborn child is fuelling a rise in female foeticide cases in India, social activists and officials said on Tuesday.

Sex determination tests through techniques such as ultrasonography and amniocentesis are banned in India, but female foetuses are still commonly killed in some regions where a preference for sons runs deep.

As a result, the government says around 10 million girls have been killed by their parents -- either before or immediately after birth -- over the past 20 years.

"Sex selection has been the main culprit for the declining female child ratio in the country," Pravir Krishna, a senior official from the ministry of health, said at a meeting on the role of sex selection tests in the killing of female foetuses.

"Technology has given us a lot of benefits, but this is one aspect of technology which has given us a serious problem." Last month, police discovered 30 polythene bags stuffed with the body parts of female foetuses and newly born babies in a abandoned well near a clinic in eastern India, sparking protests.

In most parts of the country, many people see boys as breadwinners who will look after their parents when they grow up but view daughters as liabilities for whom they will have to pay huge dowries to get married off.

Since technology for monitoring the health of a foetus started in India in the 1980s, many clinics and hospitals have misused it to determine the gender of unborn children, at the request of couples.

If the foetus is found to be a girl, it is often aborted.Over the last four decades, the child sex ratio has been declining, with the sharpest fall from 1981 onwards. A 2001 census found there were 927 girls for every 1,000 boys in the age group of six-years-old or below, compared to 945 to 1,000 in 1991.

Social activists say authorities have been slow to implement legislation that has been in force since 1996. There have been only two convictions -- a fine of 300 rupees ($7) and another fine of 4,000 rupees ($98) -- from over 400 cases lodged under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act.


"Is 300 rupees the cost of a girl in India?" asked Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre of Social Research, a New Delhi-based think-tank promoting women's empowerment.

"We are obviously not doing enough as we would see many, many more convictions being made." Officials said it was not easy to catch offenders -- the agents, parents and doctors -- as the tests and subsequent abortions take place in private clinics in a clandestine manner. Accused people can only be charged when there is concrete evidence, they added.

Officials said they planned to amend the law and add stiffer penalties -- raising sentences from three years to five years in jail and the maximum fine of 10,000 rupees ($240) to 50,000 rupees ($1,215) -- and step up enforcement.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pre-natal sex test as good as female foeticide: Bombay High Court

Equating pre-natal sex determination with female foeticide and the tendency not to have girl child offends a woman's dignity, the Bombay High Court on Friday upheld an amendment to Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act banning sex-selection treatment. Sex selection should be allowed to those who already have one child and want another child of opposite sex, a petition filed by Vijay Sharma and Kirti Sharma -- husband and wife -- had demanded.

But the judges said in a verdict pronounced on Friday that sex selection would be as good as female foeticide.

"That society should not want a girl child, efforts should be made to prevent birth of a girl a matter of grave concern," the judgement observed.

"Such tendency offends woman's dignity," it said. Pre-conception sex determination meant going against the nature, the judges opined, adding it violated a woman's right to live and was against spirit of the Constitution.

The Sharmas had challenged `Prenatal Diagnostic Tests (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act' of 2002, an amendment to the 1994 act, saying it was a constitutional right of parents to select sex of their child before the conception.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Save the Girl child : Message by youth

Students of the Upmanyu Adhyapan Mandir PTC college in Sola Road have made a five-feet rakhi with a 'Stop Female Foeticide: Save the Girl Child' message on eve of Rakshabandhan. The rakhi has been dedicated to the cause of the girls to make the citizens aware about the evils of skewed sex ratio. Numerous slogans advocating the virtues of having a female progeny have also been included in the rakhi.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gender tests fuel killing of India's unborn girls

By Nita Bhalla

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The widespread use of illegal tests to determine the sex of an unborn child is fuelling a rise in female foeticide cases in India, social activists and officials said on Tuesday.

Sex determination tests through techniques such as ultrasonography and amniocentesis are banned in India, but female foetuses are still commonly killed in some regions where a preference for sons runs deep.

As a result, the government says around 10 million girls have been killed by their parents -- either before or immediately after birth -- over the past 20 years.

"Sex selection has been the main culprit for the declining female child ratio in the country," Pravir Krishna, a senior official from the ministry of health, said at a meeting on the role of sex selection tests in the killing of female foetuses.

"Technology has given us a lot of benefits, but this is one aspect of technology which has given us a serious problem."

Last month, police discovered 30 polythene bags stuffed with the body parts of female foetuses and newly born babies in a abandoned well near a clinic in eastern India, sparking protests.

In most parts of the country, many people see boys as breadwinners who will look after their parents when they grow up but view daughters as liabilities for whom they will have to pay huge dowries to get married off.

Since technology for monitoring the health of a foetus started in India in the 1980s, many clinics and hospitals have misused it to determine the gender of unborn children, at the request of couples.

Survey by NGO reveals that Chembur clinics in Mumbai flout sex tests

A survey of 40 ultra-sound clinics in Chembur by Laadli Alliance a group of 10 NGOs has revealed shocking revelations. Not one of the 40 clinics here follows the rules prescribed in the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act 1994 (PCPNDT Act), aimed at curbing female foeticide.

Mumbai's sex ratio is 898 girls per 1000 boys. Sex discrimination and female foeticide are issues that Mumbai needs to tackle on a war footing. The report is being sent the report to public health department, family welfare department and National PCPNDT Cell, of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), demanding strict action against the clinics.

"Four teams, armed with authorisation letters from the BMC, surveyed 47 sonography clinics in M (West) Ward between July 18 and August 8 2007. Seven of the clinics were non-operational, the remaining 40 were found to be flouting various rules of the PCPNDT Act. Shockinginlgy many doctors claimed that they were not even aware of the Act.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Only 86 cases were registered in year 2005 under PC & PNDT Act in India

Number of cases of foeticide registered during 2003, 2004 and 2005 was 57, 86, and 86 respectively in the country. In order to check female foeticide, the Government has enacted the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC&PNDT Act). The technique of pre-conception sex selection has been brought within the ambit of this Act so as to pre-empt the use of such technologies, which significantly contribute to the declining sex ratio. Use of ultrasound machines has also been brought within the purview of this Act more explicitly so as to curb their misuse for detection and disclosure of sex of the foetus lest it should lead to female foeticide. The sale of ultrasound machines has been regulated through laying down the condition of sale only to the bodies registered under the Act.

At the district level, as per the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC&PNDT Act), the Appropriate Authority which is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the district has been empowered to implement the Act. The Appropriate Authority is aided and advised by the Advisory Committee in the discharge of its functions. The Advisory Committee is consists of three medical experts, a legal expert, a publicity expert and three social workers/NGOs (out of which one is from women’s organization). In addition, a ‘National Support and Monitoring Cell’ has been set up for effective implementation of the Act.

This information was given by the Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss in a reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha. (Ref - PIB release)

In year 2005 out of total 86 cases registered 21 were in Chhattisgarh, 12 in madhya Pradesh, 12 in Punjab, 10 in Rajasthan, 8 in Haryana, 4 in Gujarat and Maharashtra

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tamil Nadu's Child Sex Ratio Falls Further

Three more districts have now been added to half a dozen in Tamil Nadu known for a declining child sex ratio, say worried health department officials reviewing female foeticide and the existing laws.The new districts that have shown the disturbing trend are Cuddalore, Perambalur and Tuticorin.

At a weekend conclave here, supported by the Tamil Nadu government, senior health officials called for increased inspections of maternity and scan centres, while campaigners urged adding punishment provisions to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.Everyone demanded that birth control methods should be made freely available to women, irrespective of marital status.

'In 1960s, Tamil Nadu's juvenile sex ratio (0-6 years) was 995 female/1,000 male births; in 2001 it was 939/1,000 male births,' pointed out P. Phavalam, convenor of the Campaign Against Sex Selective Abortion (CASSA). 'Of Tamil Nadu's 201 talukas (village blocks), 28 have juvenile sex ratio below 900 and six have below 800. In 16 districts, it was below 952 in 2004, less than the worldwide accepted sex ratio,' she added. In Perambalur district, the female-male child sex ratio at birth was 944/1,000 in 2001. This has now dropped to 928/1,000, data collected at government primary public health centres over seven years has shown.In Melamathure in the district, the sex ratio has fallen from 890 in 2001 to 747 in 2006. Around Irumblikurichi, it has fallen from 985 to 725, in Gunamangalam it has fallen to 709 female children per thousand male children.

In Cuddalore district, the female-male ratio at birth has fallen from 960 at the turn of the millennium to 915 now. In 2006, in villages and towns round Marungur and Perperiyankuppam, the sex ratio fell to 647/1,000 and 695/1,000 respectively from around 800 in 2001.In infanticide hotspots like Salem, the sex ratio has improved from 890 to 912, but in places like Elampillai, where the ratio was already low (819), it has become lower still, 746/1,000 male births.The problem continues to persist in Chellampatti region of Madurai where female births have declined further.In places like Powerkadu, in Namakkal, where for every 1,000 male births there were 1,176 girl children in 2001, only about 702 are born now.Virudhnagar district too has seen a decline of the sex ratio from 949 to 915/1,000 male children in the last six years.Tuticorin district, industrialising rapidly, has also seen the sex ratio fall from 969 to 930 in six years.

In areas like Mukuperi, the ratio has fallen from 1,134 female children/1,000 male children in 2001 to only 704 female children per 1,000 male children being born in 2006.Erode district, a well-known educational and textile hub, has seen the sex ratio at birth fall from 957 female children to 927/1,000 male children, indicating technology has aided in reducing the number of girl children.

In S. Kailasapuram area of Kovilpatti, only 631 female children were born per 1,000 male children in 2006.Only Dharmapuri district has shown remarkable improvement, the figure rising from 888 to 920/1,000 male births in six years. All these figures come from the government health department.Almost 40 years after the first campaigns to stem killing of the female new-born and foetus in this state began, special secretary to the Tamil Nadu government, health and family welfare P.W.C. Davidar says, 'the truth is, we spend more time at meetings than on inspections'.

'The data coming in from even our public health centres tell us we need to question our methodology of intervention,' Davidar told IANS. Before 1971, the abortion laws, which were part of the Indian Penal Code, recognised the right of the unborn child over the reproductive right of the mother.In 1971 came the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which for the first time established the right of the mother to an abortion. In 2002-3 came the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (prohibition of sex selection) Act (PCPNDT Act), which was punishment legislation.The conclave demanded that the IPC provisions and the PCPNDT provisions should become part of the MTP Act. A Unicef study has shown that sex selective abortions account for 500,000 missing girls annually in India; the female-male ratio at birth is a universal societal health indictor.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Village in Rajasthan resolves to stop foeticide

A village panchayat in Rajasthan’s Alwar district has decided to take measures in order to prevent female foeticide. The panchayat in Alwar’s Majra village, 150 km from Jaipur, will give a prize money of Rs 5,100 to a person giving information about illegal sex determination tests being conducted in the area. While declaring foeticide an “appalling crime and a blemish on society”, the panchayat decided to penalise the people indulging in it. “We read reports of increasing foeticide cases daily and this prompted us to take this step. We will do our best to curb it,” Mahadev, sarpanch (chief) of the panchayat said. He said that the panchayat would motivate villagers to help stop foeticide. “We have decided to give Rs 5,100 to the informer and we are also thinking about how to punish persons indulging in this act,” Mahadev said. “We feel that this kind of decision is important, otherwise there would be very few girls left,” he added.

Vernacular dailies pulling NRIs home for sex tests

Charan Gill of the Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society in Surrey, British Columbia (BC), told media that two vernacular newspapers published out of Chandigarh and Vancouver were brazenly carrying advertisements of ultrasound clinics for sex determination in BC that promoted female foeticide. These newspapers are distributed across Canada and are very popular within the Punjabi community. "It's disgusting to see that some newspapers carry such advertisements for profit. They ought to know these lead to foeticide and skewing of the female-male population of Punjabis in Canada," said Gill. According to him, an Ottawa-based family rights group's statistics suggests that abortions targeting female foetuses are taking place in BC's Indo-Canadian community. He said the study conducted showed only 100 girls to 108 boys, a definite trend towards a gender imbalance going by earlier figures. NRIs who visit India for these tests are either visiting home for a long duration, or are poor and cannot afford abortions abroad. In some cases, they come from countries where abortion isn't encouraged because of Roman Catholicism. Abortion for sex selection is banned in India since 1994.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Adverse Child Sex Ratio in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh

A cause for concern

- The story is on the web site

BHOPAL July 16: A recent survey shows that the child sex ratio is massively adverse in Shivpuri, a district headquarter in Gwalior Division with a population of 1.10 lakh. The 2001 Census reported the child sex ratio of 904 girls per 1000 boys in the age group 0-6 at Shivpuri. A recent survey conducted in this district headquarter by the district administration shows that there has been a fall of 58 points and now the town has a child sex ratio of 846 girls per 1000 boys. The Government of India had issued directives to keep a monthly tab on the child sex ratio to keep a check on the alarming drop in the number of girls as reported by the 2001 Census. The Registrar-General of India has also asked its State offices to prepare a monthly report of the births to monitor the sex ratio.

The adverse child sex ratio in Shivpuri is indicative of female infanticide and shows that foeticide is being practiced. The recent behavior of society could be judged by comparing the sex ratio at birth and the overall child sex ratio. The small sample surveys in Shivpuri have reported low sex ratio even at birth. On the basis of these surveys, conducted in Government hospitals and private nursing homes, it has been found that Shivpuri has a birth sex ratio of 942 to 955 girls per 1000 boys. The 2001 Census showed that there were 22744 children in the age group 0-6 in Shivpuri. Of these 11944 were boys and 10800 girls. A recent door-to door survey showed that there were 20498 children in Shivpuri town in the 0-6 age group. Of these 11103 were boys and 9395 girls. The adverse child sex ratio in Shivpuri is indicative of a shift from son preference to daughter discrimination and it is important to note that the epicenter of the problem is the urban affluent society and not the SC/ST, other backward classes and the weaker sections. Of the 531 births recorded in private hospitals at Shivpuri in the last one year period, 297 were boys and 234 girls. This gives a sex ratio at birth to 787 girls per 1000 boys born in private hospitals.

In sharp contrast, of the 6088 births recorded in district hospitals, 3156 were boys and 2932 girls.

In the case of government hospitals, where mostly the weaker sections go due to various incentives and low delivery cost, the sex ratio at birth went up to 929 girls per 1000 boys. Taking a closer look at this malaise, the obvious conclusion is that there should be effective enforcement of Pre-conception pre-natal diagnostic techniques (regulation and prevention of misuse) Act (PCPNDT). The enforcement authorities should also guard against the trend "to misuse" certain provisions of the "liberal" Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 (MTP). There has to be a correlation between PCPNDT and MTP. While safe and legal abortion is the right of women there is need for having a relook at MTP which allows medical termination of pregnancy due to various reasons, including "failure of contraceptive devices". In Shivpuri and elsewhere in the State and country, there are many private hospitals registered under the PCPNDT Act but not under MTP. Many of these hospitals have ultra-sound facilities and could be involved in termination of pregnancy.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Declining sex ratio

Sex ratio in India has declined over the century from 972 in 1901 to 927 in 1991. The sex ratio has since gone up to 933 in 2001. In contrast, the child sex ratio for the age group of 0-6 years in 2001 is 927 girls per thousand boys against 945 recorded in 1991 Census. As far as worldwide sex ratio is concerned, it is 1.01 male (s)/females as in 2006.

Some of the reasons commonly put forward to explain the consistently low levels of sex ratio are son preference, neglect of the girl child resulting in higher mortality at younger age, female infanticide, female foeticide, higher maternal mortality and male bias in emuneration of population. Easy availability of the sex determination test and abortion services may also be facilitating the process which may be further stimulated by pre-conception sex selection facilities. The Government has taken a number of initiatives to implement the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique Act (PC&PNDT) and to spread awareness on the issue through Information, Communication and Education (IEC). They include amendment of PC&PNDT Act in 2003 to make it more comprehensive, more frequent visits of National Inspection and Monitoring Committee (NIMC), setting up of National Support and Monitoring Cell (NSMC), sensitization through Members of Parliament, publication of handbook on the Act, Annual Report on the Act, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), involvement of District Magistrate, launching of “Save the Girl Child” campaign etc.

This information was given by the Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss on 4th May, 2007 in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Female foeticide: Unabated in modern India

by Pritha Roy Choudhury at

FEMALE INFANTICIDE is one of the issues that is gaining much prominence from all quarters these days, but a recent report in one of the leading national dailies about a baby girl abandoned in a dustbin came as a shock…yet again.

One tends to question, what effect do the media awareness programmes and different initiatives taken by the government and non-government organizations really have? Are they really effective in bringing about any change in the outlook of the society? If not, where lies the loophole?

A baby girl tied in polythene bag and dumped in a public dustbin left to be torn away by wild stray dogs. An incident that took place nowhere else but in the very capital of our country.
To cite a couple of more examples, of many, the recovery of pieces of bones of newly born female fetuses from a hospital backyard in Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh in February this year. And bodies of more than 100 fetuses found outside an abortion clinic in Pattran town in Punjab in August last year were both deplorable.

Case histories like these should make us think a hundred times before we call ourselves citizens of a developed progressive nation of the 21st century trying to live with the illusion that we are at par with the developed giants of the world. We have developed technologically, no doubt, but are we putting these technological developments in proper use?

Portable machines are taken to remote villages by motorcycle. As a consequence, infanticide has given way to foeticide. Reasons for selective abortions are many, from carrying the family name forward, lighting the funeral pyre to hoping for a male breadwinner in the family. But the reason, which tops the list, is dowry - a price paid by the parents to marry off their daughters.

“The laws are not being followed, I will say the agencies, the NGOs and the people are not at all aware on the issue. The root cause needs to be eliminated and that is the dowry system has to be done away with. Though Dowry Laws prevail, they are not being implemented properly,” said Manju S Hembrom, Member, National Commission for Women.

Dowry though illegal in India, but the law is almost universally ignored. For poor and middle class families it is a burden, which they are forced to bear.

“The police department specifically should be dealt with strictly and made corruption free. At times when the FIRs are filed by the girl’s family against her husband and in-laws for dowry related atrocities, the groom’s family manages to bribe the police and make an easy escape,” she added. A 2001 government census revealed that there were 795 women for every 1000 men in Punjab but the numbers were no better in the posh neighborhoods of South Delhi.

Despite a law banning sex selective abortion is in force for a decade, as many as half a million female foetuses are aborted each year in the country.

Hundreds of clinics in the lanes and by-lanes of the capital carry out sex determination tests illegally though a board outside the clinic reads “No Sex determination tests done here”. “The problem is that most of the clinics carry out such tests undercover. No one comes forward and complains in this regard. So until and unless the doctors stop adhering to such practices, things are not going to change,” Hembrom further added.

However, a handful of gynecologists, like Dr Archana Sinha who are into the mission of spreading awareness say they try every aspect to counsel each and every couple that comes for sex determination tests.

“There is a rise in awareness among people these days but there are many again who come to us for sex determination tests, we try all possible means to counsel them. Many understand but again there are people who insist and that is the time we have to warn them about the laws saying they might end up in jail. They do go back, but find out other means to abort their child. Most of the doctors are doing their best in this aspect, we might be able to see the outcome in the next 10 years,” said Dr Sinha.

According to Dr Nita Mathur, Reader, School of Social Sciences, IGNOU, India is a patriarchal society where there is preference for boys as they are considered a status symbol of the family. Another reason is that, a would be mother would like to have a kind of social security for her daughter, which is as good as non-existent in our country and due to that she prefers to go for abortion.

Dr Mathur advocates that only education or money does not necessarily bring about a change in the mindset of the society. It is the people particularly the men or the decision makers of a family who should be sensitized.

“It is men who have to be sensitized because in several families, it is men who take the decision. The education curriculum should be more gender sensitive,” said Dr Mathur.

Delhi ’s sex ratio began showing a sharp decline with the 1991 census figure of 827. The last two years have been the worst yet for the capital, with figures dropping steadily. A healthy ratio, according to world standards, is considered to be 952 females for every 1,000 males.

Gita Aravamudan's book on ‘Disappearing Daughters: The Tragedy of Female Foeticide’ presents a chilling and in-depth account of the growing practice of female foeticide in the country.

The author has collected accounts of foeticide and infanticide from across the country. A midwife from a remote village in Tamil Nadu narrates how the practice has moved on from feeding paddy husk and poisoned milk to stifling the newborn with a cloth or a pillow.

According to the writer, though India has a history of skewed female sex ratio, what the country is witnessing today is the systematic extermination of the female child, with the ultrasound machine serving as an instrument of murder.

The book also makes it clear that if the macabre practice continues, it would spell doom for both sons and daughters and will have a disastrous impact on the future generations.

It is a shame that in a country like India where we worship ‘Shakti’ or the female form the very existence of the females is being threatened.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Is judiciary serious about checking female foeticide?

The judiciary in India will observe 2007 as the Awareness Year of Female Foeticide and will deal in a strict manner with those responsible for this crime, former Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal had declared while delivering his presidential address at a state-level seminar on 'Eradication of Female Foeticide', jointly organised by the Punjab Department of Health and Family Welfare and Punjab Legal Services Authority.

The law can play an important role in checking this menace of female feticide, he added. Warning the medical fraternity, he said there ought to be stricter control over clinics that offer to identify the sex of a foetus and a stronger check on abortions to ensure that these are not performed for the wrong reasons. Doctors must also be sensitised and strong punitive measures must be taken against those who violate the law, he asserted.

It will be interesting to investigate how the judiciary at different levels heeds the exhortations of the highest in the judiciary. The case in this instance cited below refers to Morena in Madhya Pradesh, one of the very few districts in the country where this issue has been vigorously perused and a game of snakes and ladder is being played out.

A team of district officials did a door-to-door survey in a village and came up with an alarmingly adverse child sex ratio. When this was discussed with the villagers in the evening, they not only accepted the figures but also openly disclosed the fact of sex determination through sonography and termination thereafter in case of a female child and also the names of the nursing homes they visited for sex determination.

Discussions were undertaken with the medical fraternity in the district with a view to discouraging sex determination and so that the district authorities would not permit this heinous practice. However, there was no visible change in the attitude of doctors, therefore the records of nine centres registered under the Act were seized.

These records were scrutinised and it was observed that non-compliance with the maintenance of mandated records was very common at the registered centres. The laxity was more prominent with the Form F requirement. Through this form only the following vital information can be obtained:

(1) Number of children with sex of each child.
(2) Purpose for which ultrasound was done during pregnancy.
(3) Result of ultrasonography - if any abnormality detected.
(4) Was MTP advised/conducted? - Date on which MTP carried out.
(5) Declaration of doctor that while conducting ultrasonography, he has neither detected nor disclosed the sex of her foetus to anybody in any manner.
(6) Declaration of the pregnant woman that by undergoing ultrasonography, she does not want to know the sex of the foetus.

After a scrutiny of the records, the appropriate authority, the chief medical and health officer, issued show cause notices and finally cancelled seven registrations. In the instance of one centre, which was operating two machines in two different locations with one registration, a case was submitted before the chief judicial magistrate. No discernible result in this case could be seen till date.

All the seven nursing homes/ultrasound centres appealed against the cancellation in the month of June 2005, much after the prescribed duration. The State Appellant Authority condoned the delay in all the cases, and decided all the seven cases on the same date of June 10, 2005 giving almost identical reasons for accepting the appeal and quashing the order of the appropriate authority even though the merits and grounds were different in all the cases.

The Appellate Authority, while admitting that Form 'F' was not maintained by these centres and also that records for the last two years were not maintained, observed that 'although there is no clear evidence of maintaining all the prescribed records as envisaged under section 4(3) and rule 9 of the Act, but looking to the records made available, it does not amount to a gross irregularity to cancel the registration of the appellant'.

This order of the state Appellate Authority was challenged by two NGOs namely 'Prayatn' and 'Dharti Gram Utthan', which work in Morena on this issue, by filing a public interest litigation (PIL) in the high court of Madhya Pradesh's Gwalior bench.

The petitioners argued that the erroneously called such violation a 'mere irregularity' and felt that if the reasoning given by the state Appellate Authority were accepted, it would result in total non-implementation of the Act and rules against female foeticide resulting in a further decline of the sex ratio in Morena district.

This petition was admitted for final hearing and the operation of the impugned order of the state Appellate Authority was stayed. In the meantime, the court directed that all the chief medical and health officers (CMHOs) and district collectors of Morena, Guna, Shivpuri, Ashok Nagar, Vidisha, Datia, Sheopur, Bhind and Gwalior make a survey and inspect all the nursing homes as well as the laboratories and centres where the ultrasound machines were being used.
They would have to verify that in such nursing homes and the laboratories/centres appropriate measures were being adopted to restrain, avoid and prohibit the sex determination and sex selection process. They would have to survey all the towns of the district where these machines were being used and submit the report before the court. They would also have to suggest the effective measures to prohibit and prevent such kind of determination.

The state was also directed to seek a report from the Morena collector about the status of involvement of respondents whose licenses were cancelled, whether they were involved in the cases of sex selection and sex determination at the pre- conception and pre-natal stage.
On Dec 13, 2006, five respondents filed applications and contended that they had applied for permission to run the ultrasound machines, as they were not involved in pre-natal sex determination, although the CMHO of Morena submitted that the owners of these machines were not furnishing proper information in proper format.

The court directed that in view of this fact, the respondents would be permitted to run their ultrasound machines but made it clear that they would have to furnish regular information as required under PNDT Act of 1994 and the rules framed there under. It said the competent authority would also have the liberty to supervise and make proper checks of the machines and take action in case any breach was found against them as per the Act and the Rules. A very obvious question stares in our face on these two different approaches to the ultrasound centres, particularly in view of the chief justice's statement. Is the judiciary really very serious about the problem of abuse of sonography and the resultant grave gender imbalance? Certainly, a doubt lurks in the mind that the judiciary may take this as a routine social legislation and leave it to time to get sorted out.

(Dr Manohar Agnani is an IAS officer of MP cadre. He can be reached at
© 2007 Indo-Asian News Service

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Girl Child is still a curse word

Outlook, April 16, 2007

Nothing bridges our urban-rural divide better than the preference for sons, even in this new century

Teesta Setalvad

by Gita AravamudamPenguinPages: 208; Rs: 250

Indian civilisation’s claim to abiding greatness and enduring values could stand severely tested with its systematic mass murder of unborn girl babies. An obsession with sons from the age of Atharva Veda ("Let a female child be born somewhere else. Here let a son be born") and lawgiver Manu’s treatise, legitimised through tradition and belief, has percolated down to 21st century India. Ironically, Pakistan, with its basis of an ‘Islamic’ reality, does not do much better—the sex ratio there is 938 girls for every 1,000 boys.

Delhi leads the way with a record 24,000 girls missing every year. Prosperous urban areas like Chandigarh, Sangli and Mehsana follow suit, playing role models to impoverished rural Bharat. Jeans-clad, pub-trotting, mangalsutra-wedded couples share one value with men who sport phetas (turbans) and women who demurely shield their face with the ghunghat. This shared value, an all-consuming preference for sons, spans the urban-rural divide and cuts across shameful disparities in consumption patterns and nutrition levels and translates into girl baby murder.

Until the ’70s, son preference led families, mothers included, to neglect their girl babies, and in some notorious districts of Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, to actually facilitate their killing after birth. It takes an Angelina Jolie to remind us that we have no comparable image of a celeb adopting a really black child.

Figures of pre-Independence British India reveal low sex ratios of the girl child, leading the British to enact laws that were later repealed. However, the technology revolution in medical research offered pre-birth sex selection techniques—amniocentesis, ultrasound and scan machines—making doctors willing partners in crime. It also raised questions about the ethics and conduct of professional bodies, like the Indian Medical Association. Disappearing Daughters is a must-read for teachers, students, parents, political leaders and, especially, doctors. Lucidly written, it traces through absorbing case studies and relevant data the tragedy of Indians killing their girls en masse.

India, poised on what we are told is a growth boom, is being torn apart from within. The brutal political, social and economic exclusions and denials driven by caste continue to make The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, toothless. The law against the giving and taking of dowry has not lessened the practice. In fact, there has been an increase in the scale of dowry that commodifies both the woman and the relationship. Is it any surprise then that the 1994 PNDT Act (Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) has failed to punish the powerful perpetrators of the crime?

A possible reason, rarely explored in public debate (much less by our omnipresent media), is the values of our opinion-makers and celebrities. We seem to be caught in a nowhere land. We wear the latest designer labels, spend oodles of money, travel on jet planes, sport Blackberry mobiles. Yet, modernity ends there. Domestic violence is a reality among our preening classes. It takes an Angelina Jolie to remind us that we have no comparable image of a celebrity adopting a really black or even a robustly brown child.

Political campaigns and election manifestoes rarely speak about social reform; weddings at which crores of rupees are spent do not attract the gaze of tax officers; dowry for an IAS officer runs into crores in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, we are told. Meanwhile, what do our politicians have to say about the sweeping son preference that leads us to murder?

Missing Girlsby Manohar Agnani/ Books For Change/ 153 pages/ Rs 180

Missing Girls by Dr Manohar Agnani, an IAS officer, offers extensive data with suggestions for more effective implementation of the law. In order to implement the PNDT Act, we need active monitoring of birth ratios, fixing responsibility, getting the appropriate authorities to function effectively, to set up central and district advisory committees and get detailed medical audits of all ultrasound examinations carried out by registered clinics, sales-purchase records of ultrasound machines and to make these records public. Many state governments have shown a reluctance to do this, despite stringent remarks of the apex court (on a PIL filed by civil rights groups).

Flexible government policy coupled with grassroot efforts has had some impact, even in those districts of Tamil Nadu where girls were killed after birth. Sustained social campaigns, a few financial incentives, scholarships, self-help groups for women and other administrative measures outlined under the new legislation made a remarkable difference in a few areas. But it’s only a silver lining. The big change will come when we stop this conspiracy of silence.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Haryana's sex ratio changes drastically as efforts pay off

Gulf News, By Ajay JhaChief, Correspondent

New Delhi: The skewed sex-ratio in Haryana has changed drastically with girls outnumbering boys in many parts of the state now. A state government survey has thrown up the heartening news that stringent implementation of various laws and better awareness has helped increase the number of girl child during the past five years. The 2001 census had put Haryana on the alert as it had emerged as one of the states with the worst sex ratio with 861 females for 1,000 males. The situation had become so bad that people in many villages, particularly in Jat-community-dominated areas, had started looking for brides for their eligible youngsters from tribal areas of Jharkhand and Orissa.

Successive state governments since have taken various measures. Besides coming down heavily on private clinics doing sex determination tests that was attributed to the rising incidents of female foeticide, the state administration announced monetary incentives to parents giving birth to girl child, free education and government help in the form of cash at the time of their marriage. Findings of the survey conducted across 25 villages have surprised many. Most of these villages now have more girls compared to boys in the age group 0-6 years. While girls outnumber boys in this age group in Bhiwani district, the ratio that stood at 871 female for 1,000 male in Hisar district in 2001 has increased by 7 per cent with the figure standing at 901 female for 1,000 male.

The situation has changed even in urban areas of the state with girl child outnumbering boys in several towns. According to a Haryana government spokesman here, the provincial government is now planning to have similar surveys conducted in the entire state. Continuing with the carrot and stick policy (rewarding those having more than one daughter and punishing those indulging in female foeticide) and giving wider publicity to achievements of these villages are going to be part of the government policy.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Female foeticide 'blot on society': Child Welfare Council

Rohtak (Haryana), March 25 (PTI): Terming female foeticide as a "blot on society", the Deputy Chairperson of Haryana Child Welfare Council, Asha Hooda, today called upon the people to deal with the problem of the declining sex ratio in the state.

Addressing a National Seminar on "Sex Ratio: Problems and Challenges" organised by Institute of Development Study, Maharishi Dayanand University here, she stressed the need to ascertain the reason for decline in sex ratio and find out means to check the menace.

"Female foeticide is a blot on society. A social campaign should be launched against it with the active participation of all sections," the wife of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said.

Referring to the PNDT Act, she said that it had been enacted to check female foeticide, but it could not be very effective "if doctors themselves were hand in glove with the culprits" and called upon the medical community to "boycott" such doctors.

The Central Planning Commission member Sayeeda Hamid said women should raise their voice against domestic violence and strongly advocated the implementation of Domestic Violence Act.

Foeticide issue continues to rock Rajasthan

Jaipur, March 23 (IANS) Increasing instances of female foeticide continue to rock Rajasthan despite the state government's claim that is has taken stern action to stop the criminal practice.
According to reports, three female foetuses were found Tuesday -- one in Alwar and the other two in Ajmer.
"We found three foetuses in a toilet near a children's hospital in Alwar. Out of these, one was a fully developed foetus of a female while the sex of the remaining two could not be determined as these were in premature stage," a police official from Alwar told IANS over phone Friday.
In Ajmer, one female foetus was found behind bushes in Ghugra village and another recovered from a drain near a bus stand in the town.
Police said they were interrogating a number of people to ascertain where the foetuses came from.
A sting operation by a private television channel last year had exposed the increasing female foeticide cases in four states -- Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
The operation had showed various doctors in different parts of these states convincing and encouraging many would-be-parents to go for female foeticide.
According to the 2001 census, the sex ratio in Rajasthan stands poorly at 922 females per 1,000 males.
Meanwhile, the government is expected to come up with a bill seeking direct control over all private hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostic centres in the state following complaints of excessive charges for treatment, negligence in treatment and increasing incidence of foeticide by private health clinics.