NEW DELHI: Turning the argument on its head, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Monday suggested that sex-determination tests be made mandatory — rather than banning them as is done now — to track women carrying a girl child, in order to check female foeticide.
Making the bold suggestion at the All India Regional Editors’ Conference in Jaipur, Maneka said, “In my personal view, the woman should be compulsorily told whether it is a boy or girl child whom she is going to give birth to. It should be registered to be able to check whether they have given birth or not.”
The minister, however, clarified that she was just putting out the idea. “It is being discussed though there is no conclusion yet,” she added.
It’s a different way to look at female foeticide, she said, pointing out, “We cannot keep catching people doing (illegal) ultrasound. Arrest of such people is not a permanent solution.”
The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 is aimed at preventing female foeticide and arrest the declining sex ratio in the country. The Act bans pre-natal sex determination. India has one of the worst child sex ratios in the world. According to the 2011 Census, for every 1,000 boys, there are only 918 girls in India. The child sex ratio in India has been on the decline since 1991 and the worst since independence. If in 1991, there were 945 girls for every 1,000 boys, in 2001, the number of girls per 1,000 boys came down to 927. According to the World Health Organization, biologically normal child sex ratio ranges from 102 to 106 male per 100 females. Converting it to Indian terms would be 943-980 females per 1,000 males.