Maharashtra has the highest number illegal clinics that perform pre-natal sex determination tests, followed by Delhi and Haryana, the Centre told the Parliament on Friday.
The Ministry of Health and Family welfare presented to the Lok Sabha answers on whether the government has stopped illegal pre-natal sex determination tests and taken actions thereof; whether a task force has been set up to monitor unscrupulous tests; the number of cases detected and registered and actions taken in this regard.
Health Minister, JP Nadda, answered the questions, giving a state/union territory list of non-registered diagnostic clinics till March 2017 for not being registered. Of the 294 recorded cases, Maharashtra has 74.
The Health Ministry report added, “As per Quarterly Progress Reports (QPRs) submitted by the States/ UTs, 103 court cases were filed during 2014-15, 190 during 2015-16 and 133 in 2016-17. Till March 2017, 2371 cases were pending before various criminal courts and 1132 cases had been decided under the PC&PNDT Act resulting in 416 convictions and 114 suspension/ cancellation of medical licenses of the convicted doctors.”
In India, pre-natal sex determination is banned under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 2003. Under this, use of sex-selection techniques is also illegal.
The Logical Indian take
Child sex ratio in India has been on a decline. In 1991, the figure was 947 girls to 1000 boys. Ten years later, it had fallen to 927 girls for 1000 boys; and in 2011, the figure stood at 919 girls to 1000 boys.
The low numbers are an evidence of the status of women in the Indian society. Sixty-seven years after independence, we are still confined to a narrow thought process. Low child sex ratio stems from our society’s preference of a son and the belief that only he can carry forward the lineage.
The patriarchal nature of the Indian society which gives men the rights to perform last rites, run the family inheritance through their sons and so forth, and act as ‘breadwinners’, are the reasons for neglect of girl child.
Exorbitant dowry demand is another reason for female foeticide in India.
Former Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, in a written reply to Rajya Sabha, had said, “Small family norm coupled with easy availability of sex determination tests may be a catalyst in the declining child sex ratio, further facilitated by easy availability of preconception sex selection facilities.”
The first step toward ensuring progress in child sex ratio in the country starts with us. It is essential that we, as a society, spread awareness about the ills of female infanticide and educate people on the benefits of having a girl.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.