Centre mulls over strict steps to check dip in child sex ratio

Centre mulls over strict steps to check dip in child sex ratio

States to set up panels to monitor clinics

Besides strengthening the monitoring mechanism up to the district level, it will also ask sellers of ultrasonography machines to periodically inform the government about the sale so that the clinics using those USG machines can also be monitored.

States have been advised to set up district level panels to regularly inspect the USG clinics that lie at the core of the sex selection racket. Despite being an illegal activity, sex selection thrives unabated in many states. At a review meeting with health secretaries from 17 states here on Wednesday, central health officials asked the states to regulate activities of USG clinics in border districts for proper registration of machines.

Emphasis was given to make district level panel functional, which will have powers for searching the clinics, seizure of patient records, sealing of machine and commissioning of witness.

India's child sex ratio dropped from 927 baby girls for every 1000 boys to 914, as per the 2011 provisional census, released last month. This is the lowest child sex ratio since independence. In as many as 27 states and union territories, the child sex ratio declined over Census 2001.

Notwithstanding India's economic progress since independence, the social malady of killing female fetus and baby girls continued not only in the hinterland but also in urban pockets.

From 976 in 1961, the sex ratio for children between 0-6 years gradually fell to 964 in 1971; 962 in 1981, 945 in 1991, 927 in 2001 and 914 in 2011.

According to the census data for 346 districts in 11 states, released so far, six districts recorded a child sex ratio below 800; 47 districts between 800-850 and 103 districts between 850-900 against the national average of 914.

The free fall continued despite the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, under which some doctors have been convicted in the lower court. The law, overall, has failed to trigger any change in the social fabric.

Immediately after the release of census data, a red-faced government reconstituted its central advisory committee to oversee the implementation of the PNDT act. The new board is set to meet on May  30.

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