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.