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.