Strict en­force­ment of pre-na­tal laws fi­nally brings the state some good news on the girl child

India Today - - INSIDE - By Asit Jolly

The state shows sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in its skewed sex ra­tio for the first time in the five decades of its ex­is­tence

Amid sev­eral tense weeks dur­ing which the Jat quota ag­i­ta­tion threat­ened to erupt all over again, there’s fi­nally a real rea­son to re­joice in Haryana—the birth of more girls. For the first time in the five decades the state has ex­isted with the ig­nominy of the low­est sex ra­tios in the coun­try, March 2017 his­tor­i­cally recorded the birth of 950 girls for ev­ery 1,000 boys, the high­est ever.

Haryana had seen an ap­palling av­er­age sex ra­tio at birth (SRB) of just 762 till 2005-2006, which had im­proved only marginally by the time Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi launched his flag­ship ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Pad­hao’ scheme from Pa­ni­pat in 2015.

Given that back­drop, the birth of 17,627 girls against 18,555 boys this March re­ally seemed like a stag­ger­ing achieve­ment. Be­lieve it or not, two dis­tricts—Nar­naul and Pal­wal—had more fe­male births than males. Of the 1,021 ba­bies born in Nar­naul, 573 were girls. The news from Pal­wal was even bet­ter—1,003 girls against 824 boys.

The turn­around, Haryana Chief Min­is­ter Manohar Lal Khat­tar says, has been achieved through strict en­force­ment of the Pre-Con­cep­tion and Pre-Na­tal Di­ag­nos­tic Tech­niques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, and the Med­i­cal Ter­mi­na­tion of Preg­nancy (MTP) Act, 1971, along­side sen­si­ti­sa­tion and aware­ness ini­tia­tives cen­tred on the girl child.

CM Khat­tar says some 400-odd FIRs

have been filed against of­fend­ers in­volved in sex se­lec­tion and foeti­cide so far. “More than 80 cases,” he says, were reg­is­tered fol­low­ing in­ter-state in­ves­ti­ga­tions of crim­i­nals and clin­ics in neigh­bour­ing Ra­jasthan, Ut­tar Pradesh, Delhi and Pun­jab.

Khat­tar’s crack­down used de­coys to tar­get un­scrupu­lous clin­ics as well as fake agents of­fer­ing sex se­lec­tion drugs. The state health au­thor­i­ties also cracked down on im­ported (mainly Chi­nese) sex de­ter­mi­na­tion and MTP kits sold by unau­tho­rised prac­ti­tion­ers and paramedics. Scores of cases have been reg­is­tered, and the Haryana gov­ern­ment has also suc­ceeded in se­cur­ing con­vic­tions in 10, of­fi­cials said.

Rakesh Gupta, ad­di­tional prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary in the CM’s of­fice, says much of the suc­cess is owed to es­tab­lish­ing SOPs (stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures) and guide­lines to tackle PCPNDT and MTP cases. This in­cludes manda­tory pro­vi­sions to train po­lice of­fi­cers, pub­lic pros­e­cu­tors and state health of­fi­cials.

NEW HOPE DAWNS Haryana CM Manohar Lal clicks a selfie with vis­it­ing girl chil­dren at his home in Chandigarh

Dis­trict sex ra­tio for March 2017 (per 1,000 male births) as per Civil Reg­is­tra­tion Sys­tem

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