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Docs, officials to be accountable if sex determination tests continue

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 The City government will soon bring in place a policy of holding officials accountable for any failure to implement the law which prohibits sex determination before birth.

A Delhi government official assured this on Friday at a think tank session where implementation of Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act in the City was discussed.

“We have thought of some pointers on the basis of which both doctors and officers who are responsible for implementing the act will be held accountable. It is still in the process,” said Dr Shelly Kamra, state programme officer of PCPDNT Act, Directorate of Family Welfare, Delhi.

A consultation was held by ActionAid India and Action India to develop a campaign for women’s right to be born and live with dignity in Delhi.

When activists raised questions about Delhi government’s delayed action towards implementing the law, Kamra replied that things have improved with government officers’ combined efforts.

Manmohan Sharma, an activist from Punjab, said with the  advancement of technology curbing declining sex ratio has become a complicated issue. “Mobile ultrasound machines which can detect the sex of a child over a cup of tea costs only Rs 4.5 lakh,” he said.

Kamra said: “We are bringing in a blanket ban on the use of mobile ultrasound machines to correct this problem. As far as existing mobile machines are concerned, doctors will have to either sell the machines by informing us in written about the buyer.  If the machines go to other states we will inform the respective state. Owners can return the machines to the manufacturers or they can seal the machines.”  

The department officers informed that no doctors have been convicted under the act but two chargesheets have been recently filed against erring doctors.

The department is also planning to start an online format for filling registration forms of ultrasound machines across Delhi.

NGOs demanded a systematic selection of rights groups in the inspection and monitoring committees of the department for adequate implementation of the act.

Dr C Chandramouli, registrar general and census commissioner, said the census is mostly provisional and can only identify the phenomena as trends vary in different states.

“We have seen a new trend. Most of the births these days are taking place at urban centres but women go back to their original place after the delivery. This has led to a situation where state border districts are showing maximum decline in sex ratio,” he said.

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About the Author:

Paul Khunkhun, serving Southern California since 1998. Paul is the owner of MDIS. He is a Board Certified Ultrasound Sonographer with RDCS and RVT credentialing. He is also pending ICAEL accreditation.

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