Sex ratio fall: Rajasthan steps up raids on clinics

Sex ratio fall: Rajasthan steps up raids on clinics

The steps include increasing the number of health department inspection teams and equipping them with devices like hidden cameras and voice recorders to keep an eye on these clinics, an official said Friday.

These devices will help the health department teams which have exclusive responsibilities to raid clinics offering ultrasound scanning services and look for evidence of pre-natal sex determination tests, the officer added.

The state government has also increased the amount of money given to a person who complains about errant ultrasound clinics.

"Earlier, the award money was Rs.1,000, but from now on if the complaint is found true, the complainant will get a Rs. 5,000 reward," said the officer.

According to the figures released by the Census 2011, Rajasthan has 883 girls between the ages of 0 to 6 for every 1,000 boys in the same age group. The child sex ratio in 2001 was 909.

"It is a very alarming situation and more vigilant steps are needed to rectify the situation," a senior heath department official told IANS.

He added that there was only one state-level health department team which used to check the records at ultrasound clinics and act on the complaints of pre-natal sex determination tests.

"But we have decided to increase them to four and equip them with hidden cameras and voice recorders," said the officer.

He said legal action is taken against errant clinics under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT Act).  But, according to him, proving them guilty under the Act is generally difficult.

"These teams will record everything using these devices while an inspection is carried out. The evidence gathered by using these devices will help us prosecute these clinics properly," said the officer.