Implement law against sex selection stringently: Azad

Speaking at a meeting of health ministers from 18 states, where recent census figures show a declining child sex ratio, Azad said declining sex ratio is a matter of grave concern.

"There is an urgent need to arrest the gender imbalance. Proper implementation of the Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostics Technique (PC and PNDT) Act and deliberation on the steps are required to be taken to address this grave challenge by the states," he said.

According to the census, number of girls in the age group of 0-6 years now stands at a mere 914 for every 1,000 boys.  "The 2011 provisional census figures have served as a wake-up call for all of us. The misuse of medical technology for pre-birth sex selection is evidently increasing," Azad noted.

The minister asked all states to appoint the appropriate authorities and also monitor their functioning as also conduct systematic inspections and overall monitoring of doctors and clinics registered under the act.

Citing low budgets per girl being offered by the schemes in operation, Azad sought greater outlays.

"Some schemes provide Rs 20,000 per girl for the purpose of marriage. It should be at least Rs 50,000 in these inflationary times. States that have the scheme must improve upon them and those that have none must come up with one," he said.

"The 2011 Provisional Census figures have served as a wake-up call for all of us. The misuse of medical technology for pre birth sex selection is evidently increasing", he noted, as the number of girls in the age group of 0-6 years now stands at a mere 914 for every 1000 boys.

Terming the declining child sex ratio in most of the states as a matter of grave national concern, he underlined the need to arrest the gender imbalance and said today's meeting could have a bearing on the future of the nation.

Among states that attended the meeting were Delhi with a sex ratio of 866 girls per 1000 boys; Madhya Pradesh with 912; Daman and Diu with 909; UP with 899; Maharashtra with 883; Rajasthan with 883 and Uttarakhand with 886. The worst in the lot were also present including Haryana (with the lowest child sex ratio of 830 in India); Punjab (846), Chandigarh (867), Jammu and Kashmir (859).

The Minister expressed grave concern over the practice of female foeticide saying the country now had 18 vulnerable states as against just nine as per the last Census. The provisional data for Census 2011 had revealed how the hitherto gender-neutral states and UTs like Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Puducherry and Dadra and Nagar Haveli had also reported shockingly low sex ratios.

"The situation is extremely worrisome. Mere implementation of the PC and PNDT act will not help. Information and education of people is equally important," he said.

He also called upon states to implement the changed rules of notifying DCs instead of CMOs as Appropriate Authority under the PNDT Act. He also urged the Health ministers to convene a meeting of DCs every six months to ensure that proper reporting to female foeticide was done.

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