Note on Female feoticide and PC & PNDT Act 1994
As per the divine plan, when ever male sperms and female eggs meet and fertilization occur, there are slightly higher chances of getting a male child in comparison to a female child (i.e. 105 males per 100 females). However, since the morbidity and mortality of the male child is more than that of a female child the male female ratio becomes 1:1 in young adult life. The longevity of females being more than males, the females are usually more than males as per overall sex ratio in most of the well developed countries.
In India, there is deep rooted prejudice and discrimination against girl child, especially in northern states of Punjab , Haryana , Rajasthan & Uttar Pradesh. As per census data, the male female ratio has always be skewed in favour of males compared to females since early 20th century in the states of Haryana Punjab compared to the southern states of Kerala and Karnataka.
The advent of new technology (ultrasound) in the late 80’s and 90’s for sex determination and safe techniques of sex selective abortions further sent the sex ratio spiraling down and as per census 2001, the 0 to 6 years sex ratio of Haryana touched in all time low of 819 females per 1000 males.
The Govt. of India, in order to check the female feoticide brought in the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulations and Prevention of Misuse Act 1994) which was brought in to operation from 1st January, 1996. The PNDT Act and rules were amended and came into force w.e.f. 14th February, 2003.
The main purpose of the Act has been to ban the use of sex selection techniques before or after conception as well as misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex selective abortion.
Since, the patient as well as the doctor both are keen for sex determination and sex selective abortion, there is no complainant and pro-active role is required to check the procedures by the administration.
The major features of the Act are:-
- Various implementing authorities like the District Appropriate Authority (Civil Surgeon), State Appropriate Authority (Director General, Health Services) are notified under the Act.
- There usually being no complainant, the District Appropriate Authorities have to assume a proactive role and do intelligence work to know the places where female feoticide is being carried out.
- Under the Act, all ultrasound clinics and Imaging Centres capable of sex determination are to be registered with District Appropriate Authorities.
- Only qualified person as specified by the Act can conduct the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques.
- No person can determine sex of the fetus and communicate the same to the patient or the relatives.
- There is prohibition of advertisement relating Pre-natal determination of sex.
- Complete record keeping of pre-natal ultrasounds has to be done as prescribed under the Act.
In Haryana, strict implementation of the PC&PNDT Act has been done by the Health Authorities as a result of which:-
- A survey of all bodies/persons using ultrasound machines has been completed. This is a continuous process. 1175 Ultrasound Clinics/ Genetic Clinics & 67 Genetic Counseling centres under the PNDT Act have so far been registered with various District Appropriate Authorities.
- 43 ultrasound machines have been registered in Govt. Sector.
- 10109 inspections of various ultrasound clinics have been conducted till date.
- 125 ultrasound machines have been seized and sealed by respective District Appropriate Authorities on account of being unregistered/ unserviceable/ for violations of the various provisions of PNDT Act 1994 / Rules 1996.
- Registration of 250 -ultrasound centres has been suspended/ cancelled for violation of various provisions of the PNDT Act.
- All the District Appropriate Authorities have been directed to take personal interest and play a pro-active role in conducting raids in the clinics operating and violating various provisions of the PNDT Act by deploying decoy customers and as a result of this, 53 prosecution complaints against the violators of various provisions of PNDT Act 1994 & Rules 1996 have been filed in the respective courts. Out of these 53 cases, 19 cases have been filed for Sex Determination, 3 cases for issuing of prohibited advertisement, 21 cases for Non-maintenance of Records and 9 cases being un-registered, 1 case for selling medicine for male child. 4 cases filed under MTP Act one each in Ambala, Gurgaon, Panipat & Panchkula. First 3 court cases under this Act were launched in Haryana (district Faridabad), which were first of its kind in the whole country and thus became a trendsetter.
- 20 doctors / persons have been convicted under PNDT Act in various districts.
- 2 persons were convicted under the MTP Act.
In addition, the departments of Health, WCD, Education, Social Justice etc in
Haryana have joined hands in tackling the issue of adverse sex ratio. The NGOs, Media, Panchayats etc. have also been roped in to given their inputs, create awareness and change the mind-set of the people. Some of the major steps taken to address the issue in Haryana include:-
- The Govt. of Haryana has decided to give concession of 10 Paisa per unit for domestic electricity connection in the name of woman, in case that the property is owned by woman. General Manager (Commercial), Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam has issued instruction vide their Memo No. Ch2/TR-72(90) Tariff/woman/loose dated 30.08.2005. Similarly, the Govt. of Haryana has decided to give 2% rebate on stamp duty in respect of purchase of immovable property by women vide Notification No. S.O.56/C.A.2/1899/S.9/2005 dated 19th July 2005 of Revenue Department, Haryana.
- The Govt. of Haryana has reserved 33% seats for women in direct recruitment quota in teaching categories vide notification No. 15/75-2005-CO-(4) dated 10th August 2005 of Education Department, Haryana.
- The Govt. of Haryana has launched “Ladli Scheme” through Women & Child Development Department vide notification No. 2750-SW(3)2005 dated 17th November 2005. Under this scheme, the Government will provide benefit/ financial assistance of Rs. 5000/- @ Rs. 2500 per girl child on the birth of 2nd girl child per year. This amount will be invested in a LIC scheme and each girl child will get approximately Rs. 90,000/- at the age of 18 years depending on the rate of interest.
- Hon’ble Chief Minister, Haryana has announced a prize of Rs. 5.0 lac, Rs. 3.0 lac and Rs. 2.0 lac to first three district showing improvement in the child sex ratio.
- Hon’ble Chief Minister, Haryana announced at the spot a prize of Rs. 1.00 lac to one village in each district showing highest increase is sex ratio and a prize of Rs. 5.00 lac to the village showing highest increase is sex ratio in the state.
- A prize worth Rs. 1.00 lac was given to Panchyat Jhalnia district Fatehabad for showing best sex ratio in the district i.e. 1227 female against 1000 males. Similarly, prize worth Rs. 1.00 has been given to Panchyat village Nizampur district Mahendergarh for acheiveing sex ratio of 1082 females against 1000 males. This activity will continue in other districts of the state as well.
- Hon’ble Chief Minister, Haryana has declared an exclusive University for Girls at Khanpur Kalan, Sonepat.
- A fortnight (pakhwara) from 1st to 5th March has been dedicated to prevention of female foeticide in the activity calendar of Sakshar Mahila Samooh. During this period the women will create awareness regarding prevention of female foeticide in the village and discuss various issues related to it.
The Govt. of Haryana is committed to tackle the issue of sex determination and female foeticide in the State and establish a healthy sex ratio.