Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Measures taken by the Government to improve sex ratio

As per the Census 2001 and 2011 (Provisional), the number of females in the country rose from 496,514,346 in 2001 to 586,469,174 in 2011 and sex ratio increased from 933 in 2001 to 940 in 2011.

Government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy entailing schemes, programmes, and awareness generation/advocacy measures, to build a positive environment to save and protect the girl child through gender sensitive policies, provision and legislation.
Further, under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and within its umbrella the Reproductive and Child HealthProgramme, many interventions have been launched to improve sex ratio.
The measures include the following:-
· For prohibition of sex selection, before and after conception, and for regulation of prenatal diagnostic techniques, the Government has enacted a comprehensive legislation, the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act in 1994. It was further amended in 2003.

· The Government have intensified effective implementation of the said Act and amended various rules covering provision for sealing and seizure and confiscation of unregistered machines and punishment against unregistered clinics. Regulation of use of portable ultrasound equipment has been notified only within the registered premises has been notified. Restriction on medical practitioners to conduct ultrasonography at maximum of two ultrasound facilities within a district has been placed. Registration fees have been enhanced. Rules have been amended to provide for advance intimation in change in employees, place, address or equipment.

· The Minister of Health and Family Welfare has requested all the State Governments to strengthen implementation of the Act and timely steps to stop use of illegal sex determination.
· The Prime Minister has urged the Chief Ministers of all States to provide personal leadership to reverse the declining trend in child sex ratio and address the neglect of the girl child through focus on education and empowerment.

· Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has intensified efforts to exhort the States and UTs to pay utmost attention to serious implementation of the Act.

· The Central Supervisory Board (CSB) under the PNDT Act has been reconstituted and regular meetings are being held. Matter has been taken up with Ministry of communication and information technology to block sex selection advertisements on websites.

· The National Inspection and Monitoring Committee (NIMC) have been reconstituted and inspections of ultrasound diagnostic facilities have been intensified. Inspections have been carried out in many states including Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

· The Government is rendering financial support to the States and UTs for Information, Education and Communication campaigns and for strengthening structures for the implementation of the Act under the National Rural Health Mission.

· States have been advised to focus on Districts/Blocks/Villages with low Child Sex Ratio to ascertain the causes, plan appropriate Behaviour Change Communication campaigns and effectively implement provisions of the PC & PNDT Act.

· Religious leaders, women achievers etc. are being involved in the campaign against skewed child sex ratio and discrimination of the girl child.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Shri Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury inwritten reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on March 19, 2013.

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