Though the state has witnessed growth in the sex ratio of female and male to 993:1000 in 2011 census against 978:1000 in 2001, the discrimination towards female infants and children still remains in the society as there are instances of female foeticide (the act of aborting a foetus because it is female) and also abandoning the female babies coming in various parts of the state on any given day.
In Chittoor district alone the number of abandoned female infants and children below three years stood at about 20 this year alone shows the gravity of discrimination towards girls at a time when the successive governments are claiming to be pro-girlchild after announcing several sops to the category.
While those parents wanting to have only male child are going to scanning centres and mercilessly resorting to the brutal act of female foeticide taking advantage from the scanning centres managements violating the norms and taking up pre-natal sex determination, which was banned a long time ago, some parents, who gave birth to girls, for whatever reasons, are abandoning their female infants.
Though pre-natal sex-determination tests were banned in the country in 1994 under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (prohibition of sex selection) Act which aims to prevent sex-selective abortion, some of the scanning centres still flouting the norms and a going ahead with such tests.
When contacted, district medical and health officer (DM&HO) Dasaratharami Reddy says they are conducting raids on scanning centres at regular intervals, verifying all the records and taking necessary action against those found revealing about the gender. During the recent times, we have even registered cases against a half-dozen scanning centres in the district on the charges of flouting norms, he said adding that that there are instances of seizing scanning centres as well as hospitals for operating business without valid permission and without following the guidelines.
Emphasising the need for the health and medical department officials for cracking whip against the scanning centres for violating the norms, which in turn coming as curse to the female infants, All India Democratic Women Association (AIDWA) district president D Nagabushanamma said that there is every need for keeping a close vigil on the scanning centres.
In Nellore, abortions and abandoning of female infants are rampant due to lack of proper action against scanning centres coupled with doctors encouraging such activities. According to sources, most of such cases are reported from rural areas due to lack of awareness over the issue. It is interesting to know that despite Nellore is well known for its medical infrastructure facilities with the establishment of superspecialty hospitals like Bollineni Hospital, Narayana, Vijaya Hospital and others which have their own scanning centres, there are as many as 178 centres across the district running without any registration indicating the apathy of the situation.
Finding dead bodies of female infants sometimes alive babies at the municipality dustbins, in irrigation canals, beside maternity hospitals has become a common occurrence in the district with parents wantonly resorting to such acts. According to reports, 25 to 30 per cent of infant murders are occurring with parents knowing the infant gender before delivery. They are offering good amounts of money to doctors for performing abortions if they knew the foetus was a female.
However, district medical & heath officer (DM&HO) G Sudhakar Rao says that they have registered cases against three scanning centres finding fault with them for disclosing the gender of the baby last year,
and notices were issued to the all scanning centres to get the medical registration otherwise face action However, women organisations blame the government authorities for the situation. Finding fault with the medical and health department for not initiating action against the scanning centres for conducting illegal operations by providing information over the gender of the infant, All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) district secretary K Vijaya says that it is unfortunate the administration is failing to registration of these centres.
She says that female foeticide is reported from mainly poor and middle class families as they feel a female child is a burden to their family due to various reasons. She opiniones that women’s organisations should need to launch agitations in the interest of protecting female child. District collector N Srikanth has stressed the need of awareness in the rural areas over the Bangaru Thalli scheme which was recently made an ordinance by the State government for protecting the women community.