Implementation of LAW urgent?
Nawanshahr district, which set an example in the country by reversing its declining female ratio, is seeing the negative trend again. While the number of female infants in the district stood at 925 (against 1000 male infants) in 2006, it dropped to 881 in 2007.
According to the data at the office of District Registrar Birth and Death, the number of female infants stood at 732 in 2001 - among the ten lowest districts in the country. In 2004, the sex ratio of female infants was 795.
The ratio started improving after Krishan Kumar took over as the Deputy Commissioner of the district in 2005. Kumar ensured that each pregnancy in the 469 villages of the district was monitored. With the help of Upkar, an NGO, and students to create awareness, nearly 100 villages in the district could raise the sex ratio, and it ranged between 950 to 1000.
Kumar enforced the rules strictly and punished those who got the female foetus aborted. Sources say that after Kumar’s transfer in March 2007, the district administration has not paid much attention to the campaign against female foeticide.
Upkar General Secretary JS Gidda said that their NGO has been working tirelessly against female foeticide. Deputy Commissioner GS Bhatti said that he will ask the Health Department to look into matter.
Earlier, Julla Majra was the first village in the state to bag a grant of Rs 3 lakh for improving its sex ratio for children aged up to six years. The award was given under the Social Mobilization Scheme of the state government, for improving sex ratio. The ratio in this village had crossed the 1,100 mark, something remarkable in a state recorded the sex ratio at 874 in the last census.
Points to note:
1. The ratio started improving after Krishan Kumar took over as the Deputy Commissioner of the district in 2005.
2. Kumar enforced the rules strictly and punished those who got the female foetus aborted. Sources say that after Kumar’s transfer in March 2007, the district administration has not paid much attention to the campaign against female foeticide.
The sex ratio started dropping again as soon as an (honest) police officer who was strongly enforcing the 'laws as designed to be implemented' was no longer around.
Perhaps implementation of laws IS the need of the day?
Despite strict laws (ex. PCPNDT act) in place, why aren't the doctors involved in sex-determination tests convicted? Bmj.com reports:
Pressure from the medical community is obstructing action against doctors in India involved in illegal sex determination and selective abortion of female fetuses, government officials said last week, echoing concerns expressed by health activists.
More than 300 doctors have been prosecuted in India for violating a 12 year old law that prohibits doctors from disclosing the sex of a fetus to parents, but only four have been convicted, officials said at a conference on sex selection technologies in New Delhi.Birth registration figures show that sex determination and selective abortion of female fetuses continues throughout the country. Doctors in ultrasonography clinics divulge fetal sex to parents after scans for birth defects.
Government officials, who have conducted surprise raids against ultrasonography clinics, said that they have encountered "pressure and lobbying" from the medical community not to act against doctors who have been caught (through hidden cameras) divulging the sex of the fetus.
"There is confidence, almost arrogance, among some doctors that they can get away with this," said Arvind Kumar, the senior administrative officer in the southern city of Hyderabad who has prosecuted 18 doctors, the largest number of cases in a single city.
Surveys in the past two years in several states have shown that the richer the district, the higher the density of ultrasonography centres, and the poorer the sex ratio. Birth registration data in New Delhi shows that the affluent southern district had the lowest sex ratio at birth in 2004—762 girls for 1000 boys. One doctor has used the municipal data to estimate that 20 000 female fetuses were aborted in the nation's capital during 2004.
"This should be seen as nothing but genocide—a law enforcement problem. It's unfortunate that the medical community continues to deliberately trivialise sex determination by calling it a social evil," said Puneet Bedi, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist in New Delhi.Health activists have argued that punishing guilty doctors is the only effective deterrent.