Sex selection in Indian community persists despite years spent in Canada


Study shows Punjabi mothers who already had 2 daughters, had 240 boys for every 100 girls

By Laura Glowacki, CBC News

Indian-born mothers in Ontario are more than two-times more likely to have boys than girls as their third child if they have already had two daughters, even after spending more than 10 years in Canada, a new study has found.

Indian-born mothers in Ontario are more than two-times more likely to have boys than girls as their third child if they have already had two daughters, even after spending more than 10 years in Canada, a new study has found. (The Associated Press)

Contrary to what researchers expected, the length of time Indian immigrants have lived in Canada has no effect whatsoever on the practice of sex selection in favour of boys.

The lead author of an upcoming study, Marcelo Urquia, said his team’s findings show Indian mothers are more than twice as likely to have a male third child, if a couple has already had two daughters.

“Families prefer to have boys rather than girls,” said Urquia, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba. “Or, if they already have daughters, they want to have at least one male in the family.”

While Canadian-born women give birth to about 105 boys for every 100 girls, Urquia and his team from the University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital, showed Punjabi-speaking mothers in Ontario, at their third birth, had 240 boys for every 100 girls.

“We expected that with longer exposure to Canada’s environment of greater gender equality, immigrants from India would progressively shift toward valuing daughters and sons more equally,” Urquia said. But it seems that’s not so.

Instead of finding a decrease, they actually found a slight increase in preference for boys.

For Punjabi-speaking Ontario women new to Canada, Urquia found they give birth to 213 boys to every 100 girls if they have already had two daughters, whereas mothers who have been in Canada for 10 years or more, including those raised in Canada, gave birth to 270 boys to every 100 girls.

Among Indian immigrants, the researchers found sex selection most common in the Punjabi-speaking community but it was also seen in women whose mother tongue was Hindi.

No choice for some moms: director

The new findings are based on 46,834 live births to Indian-born mothers who gave birth in Ontario hospitals between 1993 and 2014 and will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada.

Sex selection with preferences for boys happens across the country, Urquia said.

“But we don’t really understand why this is still happening in Canada.”

The data were especially puzzling to Urquia and his colleagues because other health trends do change after immigrants live in Canada for years. For example, Indian women who abstained from drinking in India tend to begin consuming alcohol after living in Canada, said Urquia. Also, Indian immigrants tend to become more sedentary when they move to Canada and obesity rates, not surprisingly, rise.

“We don’t have a proper explanation,” he said of the preference for boys. “We really don’t know why this is happening.”

Kripa Sekhar, executive director of the South Asian Women’s Centre in Toronto, said findings by Urquia and his colleagues confirmed what her organization has seen and heard from women for years.

Her organization was one of a handful consulted as part of the new research into sex selection.

“I’m not saying this happens across the board but definitely among more traditional, South Asian families there appears to be a desire to have a male child,” Sekhar said.

Some of the potential reasons mothers abort female daughters can be traced to both cultural and economic reasons, she said.

Traditionally, sons take care of elderly parents and their families also receive dowries in marriages, so the birth of a boy is a joyous occasion, Sekhar said, especially for traditional families.

“I think it comes down from traditions of patriarchy,” she said.​ “It’s very sad … Because she’s under pressure to have that male child, she actually in many ways has no choice.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/sex-selection-indian-community-1.4083853

More than 100 Activists condemn PAC recommendation of compulsory sex determination tests


 PAC REPORT

Mumbai – We the undersigned representatives of women’s and health rights organizations strongly condemn the recommendations of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly making pre-natal sex determination and tracking of pregnant women mandatory to prevent  sex selection.

These recommendations are grossly violative of the PcPNDT Act itself, and will impinge upon the MTP Act as well. It is ironical that such a recommendation is being made in Maharashtra, which pioneered the law to curb sex selection after a long campaign by women and health activists that linked the use of sex-selection and sex-detection technologies to gender based discrimination and thereafter to  the declining child sex ratio in India .

It is shocking that the proposal is being mooted at a time when yet another racket of sex selection has recently come to light in Mhaisal, Sangli, which clearly exposes the nexus between unscrupulous medical professionals and corrupt government health officials in allowing illegal sex determination to proliferate in the state.

It is quite clear that such a proposal is intended to absolve doctors and to shift the burden to the shoulders of pregnant women. The 2003 amendments to the 1994 PcPNDT Act recognized the lack of autonomy faced by women and had specifically kept the pregnant woman out of the ambit of the Act. This new proposal will only result in a twenty-four hour surveillance of pregnant women both within the family and by the state authorities. It will unnecessarily target every woman bearing a female foetus, and will link any abortion that such a woman has (for any reason) to sex selection. This will adversely impact women’s already poor access to safe abortion.  It will fuel a proliferation of illegal facilities for getting rid of unwanted female foetuses.

PAC suggestions of  surveillance is violation of our fundamental right to privacy and victimization of the woman when the focus of surveillance should be providers who are the key link to practice of sex determination and sex selection.

We demand that the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly rejects the recommendations of the PAC. We also demand stringent implementation of the present Act, which has clearly acted as a deterrent wherever it has been used effectively.

गर्भलिंग चाचणी सक्तीचे करण्याची अजब शिफारस करणाऱ्या लोकलेखा समितीचा कडक निषेध

लोकलेखा समितीने महाराष्ट्र विधान सभेला सादर केलेल्या आपल्या अहवालात राज्यात लिंग निदान रोखण्यासाठी गर्भलिंग चाचणी सक्तीची करून सर्व गरोदर महिलांवर पाळत ठेवण्याची अजब शिफारस केली आहे, त्याचा आम्ही खाली सही करणाऱ्या महिला व आरोग्य हक्क संघटना तीव्र निषेध करीत आहोत.

मुळात अशी शिफारस लिंग निदान प्रतिबंधक (पी.सी.पी.एन.डी.टी.) कायद्याचे घोर उल्लंघन करणारी असून, गर्भपाताशी संबंधित एम.टी.पी. कायद्यावर देखील त्याचे विपरीत परिणाम होतील. स्त्रियांशी टोकाचा भेदभाव करणारी लिंगनिदानाची पद्धत आणि त्यासाठी वापरण्यात येणाऱ्या तंत्रज्ञानामुळे भारतात ०-६ वर्ष वयोगटातील मुलींचे प्रमाण कसे घटत आहे, ह्या गंभीर मुद्द्याकडे प्रथम महाराष्ट्रातील महिला आणि आरोग्य हक्क कार्यकर्त्यांनी लक्ष वेधले. त्यांनी दीर्घ काळ चालवलेल्या मोहिमेचा परिणाम म्हणून महाराष्ट्रात प्रथम लिंग-निवड प्रतिबंधात्मक कायदा मंजूर झाला, ह्याचा विसर लोकलेख समितीला पडलेला दिसतो.

म्हैसाळ (सांगली) आणि नाशिक शहरात अलीकडेच उजेडास आलेल्या बेकायदेशीर लिंग निदानाच्या प्रकरणातून अप्रामाणिक वैदकीय व्यावसायिक आणि भ्रष्ट सरकारी अधिकारी ह्यांच्यातल्या संगनमताने राज्यात बेकायदेशीर लिंगचाचणीची केंद्र कशीं फोफावली आहेत, हे समोर आलेले असताना, अशी शिफारस करणे अधिक धक्कादायक आहे.

प्रत्यक्षात लिंग निदान करणाऱ्या डॉक्टरांना सुट देऊन, गरोदर स्त्रीवर सर्व जबाबदारी टाकण्याचा हा निषेधार्य प्रकार आहे. १९९४च्या लिंग निवड प्रतिबंधक कायद्यात २००३ मध्ये सुधारणा करताना स्त्रियांना निर्णय स्वातंत्र्य नसल्याची वस्तुस्थिती लक्षात घेऊन, गरोदर स्त्रीला कायद्याच्या कक्षेतून काढले होते. ह्या नव्या प्रस्तावामुळे गरोदर स्त्री वर कुटुंबांतर्गत आणि शासकीय पातळीवरची चोवीस तासांची पाळत सहन करावी लागेल. स्त्री-गर्भ असलेल्या प्रत्येक गरोदर महिलेला विनाकारण लक्ष्य बनवून, तिने कोणत्याही कारणास्तव गर्भपात करून घेतला तरी त्याचा संबंध लिंग निदानाशी जोडला जाईल. स्त्रियांना अगोदरच सुरक्षित गर्भपाताची सेवा मिळणे अवघड झाले असताना, नको असलेले स्त्री गर्भ नष्ट करणारी एक बेकायदेशीर यंत्रणाच ह्यामुळे फोफावणार आहे.

अशा पद्धतीने स्त्रियांवर पाळत ठेवण्याची ही लोकलेखा समितीची शिफारस स्त्रियांच्या खाजगी आयुष्यात हस्तक्षेप करणारी आणि मुलभूत अधिकारांवर घाला घालणारी आहे. उलट बेकायदेशीर  पद्धतीने लिंग निदान आणि लिंग निवड करणारी केंद्र चालवणाऱ्यांवर सरकारने पाळत ठेवून त्यांचे उच्चाटन करण्याची आवश्यकता आहे.

महाराष्ट्र विधान सभेने लोकलेखा समितीच्या ह्या शिफारशीला स्पष्ट नकार द्यावा अशी  मागणी आम्ही करीत आहोत. जिथे पी.सी.पी.एन.डी.टी. कायद्याचा प्रभावी उपयोग केला गेला, तिथे लिंग निदान रोखण्यासाठी मदत झाली असा आजपर्यंतचा अनुभव असून, कायद्याची महाराष्ट्रात कडक अंमलबजावणी करावी अशी मागणी आम्ही करीत आहोत.

Endorsed

Organziations 

Forum Against Sex Selection (FASS)

Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana (AIDWA)

Mahila Sarvgrameen Utkarsh Mandal (MASUM)

Forum for Medical Ethics Society

Forum Against Oppression of Women  (FAOW)

Jan Swasthya Abhiyan- Mumbai

National Allaince of Materal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR)

Nazariya: A Queer Feminist Resource Group

LABIA –  A Queer Feminist LBT Collective, Bombay

Maharashtra Mahila Arogya Hakka Parishad

 National Alliance of People’s Movements– (NAPM)
Point of View, Mumbai

SAMYAK, Pune

CEHAT, Mumbai

Sruti Disability Rights Centee

Saheli Women’s Resource Centre

Individuals

  1. Kamayani Bali Mahabal,  (FASS)
  2. Kiran Moghe , (AIDWA)
  3. Sonya Gill, (AIDWA)
  4. Ravi Duggal, Health activist
  5. Manisha Gupte ,  Women and Health activist
  6. Adv Indira Jaising, Lawyers Collective
  7. Lakshmi Menon . Womens Health Movement
  8. Brinelle D’souza – Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  9. Farah Naqvi, Writer & Activist, Delhi
  10. Dr B Ekbal ,  Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Kerala
  11. Dr. Nizara Hazarika , Associate Professor, Sonapur College,Assam
  12. Gabriele Dietrich, Pennurimai Iyakkam, TN
  13. Sunita Bandewar, FMES and IJME
  14. Amulya Nidhi , .Health Activist Madhya Pradesh
  15. Dr. Sylvia Karpagam, Public health doctor and researcher
  16. Saswati Ghosh, Associate Professor and hod, Economics, City College (under Calcutta University)
  17. Nisha Biswas
  18. Abha Bhaiya
  19. Nivedita Menon, JNU
  20. Dyuti
  21. Johanna Lokhande
  22. Madhu Mehra, Partners for Law in Development
  23. Ulka Mahajan,  Social activist
  24. Mary E. John, Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS)
  25. Virginia Saldanha, Indian Christian Women’s Movement,
    Manak Matiyani (Executive Director)- YP Foundation
  26. Vinita Sahasranaman (Director of Programs and Advocacy)- YP Foundation
  27. Souvik Pyne (Advocacy Officer)m YP foundation
  28. Nandita Shah, Akshara
  29. Jyoti Mhapsekar, Stree Mukti Sanghathana
  30. Dr Kamaxi Bhate, FASS
  31. Adv Manisha Tulpule
  32. Rashmi Divekar
  33. Urmila Salunkhe, Akshara
  34. Prasanna Invally, Pune
  35. Kalpana mehta. Manasi Swasthya Sansthan, Indore
  36. Chayanika Shah- LABIA
  37. Anagha Sarpotdar
  38. Chhaya Datar
  39. Bishakha Dutta , Point of View
  40. Meena Seshu, Sangram
  41. Hema Pisal, MASUM
  42. Anand Pawar, SAMYAK
  43. Ravindra R P – Member, Drafting Committees (Mah. PNDT Act, PNDT Act, PCPNDT Act)
  44. Jaya Menon, Women Networking
  45. Sanober Keshwaar
  46. Vijay Hiremath
  47. Shalini Mahajan, LABIA
  48. Rohini Hensman, writer and activist
  49. Lubna Duggal , Forum for Medical Ethics Society
  50. Narendra  Gupta, Prayas
  51. Aapurv Jain, Gender rights activist
  52. Burnad Fatima- SRED
  53.  Sandhya Gautam, NAMHHR
  54. Jashodhara Dasgupta – Sahayog
  55. Sarojini – Sama
  56. Leni Chaudhuri, JSA
  57. Anuradha Pati
  58. Anita Ghai –  Feminsit  and Disbaility Rights Activist
  59. Ritambhara, Nazariya
  60. Preet Manjusha, SAMYAK
  61. Neeraj Malik
  62. Sejal Dand, ANANDI
  63. E.Premadas- CHSJ
  64. Suhas Kolhekar- NAPM
  65. Sitaram Shelar
  66. Sneha Giridhari, SWISSAID, India
  67. Sapana, BGVS
  68. Brinda Bose, JNU
  69. Reena Martins, Mumbai
  70. Hasina Khan, Bebaak Collective
  71. Pouru Wadia, SNEHA
  72. Vibhuti Patel, SNDT
  73. Kajal Jain,MASUM,Pune
  74. Mohan Rao, JNU
  75. Suneeta Dhar, activist
  76. Vasavi Kiro
  77. Abhijit Das,CHSJ
  78. Vivekanand Ojha
  79. Jaya Sagade , activist
  80. Ujwala kadrekar
  81. Uma V Chandru, WSS
  82. Archana More ,Karve Institute of Social Work
  83. Pradnya Shende
  84. Shakuntala Bhalerao, JSA
  85. Shubhangi Deshpande
  86. Vrinda Grover
  87. Subhash Mendhapurkar, SUTRA
  88. Manmohan Sharma,  health activist
  89. Noorjehan  Safia Niaz, BMMA
  90. Dolphy D’souza, Convenor, Police Reforms Watch
  91. Adv Vijay Hiremath
  92.  Nita Shirali, activist
  93. Saumya Uma
  94. Sugandhi Francis
  95. Snehal
  96. Kranti
  97. Yasmeen, awwaze- niswan
  98. Aruna Burte
  99. Shobha, Stree Mukti Sanghathana
  100. Mukta Srivastava, NAPM
  101. Milind Ranade
  102. Prof. Ujwala Masdekar, faculty of Karve Institute of social service
  103. Panchali Ray. Jadavpur University. Kolkata.
  104. Sonal Shukla, Vacha
  105. Naureen, SNEHA
  106. Richa Minocha , Simla
  107. Jeevika Shiv, ANANDI
  108. Radhika Desai, Hyderabad
  109. Seema Kulkarni, SOPPECOM
  110. Rimple Mehta
  111. Ayesha Kidwai
  112. Runu Roy

Gender Justice – Despite skewed sex ratio, conviction under PCPNDT Act rare


SMILEGIRL1

Despite India’s declining child sex ratio, as many as 30 states and union territories have not convicted even a single person for pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic between 2011 and 2013, raising concerns about the poor implementation of the PCPNDT Act.

The five states which have worst child sex ratio (CSR) – Daman and Diu (618 girls per 1,000 boys), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (775), Chandigarh (818), Delhi (866) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands (878) – have also not punished anyone during the period.

The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 was enacted to stop female foeticide and arrest the declining sex ratio by banning pre-natal sex determination.

Child sex ratio in India has reached an alarming low with 918 girls per 1,000 boys in 2011 from 927 in 2001, but not much seems to have been done to ensure strict implementation of the Act to deter female foeticide.

According to data available with the Health Ministry, only 32 people have been punished in the whole country as against 563 cases reported for conducting sex determination tests between 2011 and 2013.

The data shows that only four states convicted 13 people in 2013.

In 2012, eight persons were punished by three states and in 2011, 11 people by four states.

Punjab, which has one of the lowest CSR with 895 girls to 1,000 boys, has convicted only two persons in the period while it reported 52 such cases.

Haryana with 879 CSR registered 54 cases under the Act but no conviction took place.

Similarly, Delhi registered 10 cases but could not manage to punish anyone.

The phenomenon has spread to areas which were not known for disparity in CSR including tribal areas and eastern states, said a Women and Child Development Ministry official.

The trend was particularly acute in more developed areas of the country including metropolitan cities.

Non-implementation of the Act has been the biggest failing of the campaign against sex selection, the officialsaid.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/despite-skewed-sex-ratio-conviction-for-female-foeticide-rare-115051000106_1.html

Pune – ‘IVF ad for male child’ illegal under PCPNDT Act


‘IVF ad for male child’
Indira IVF centre in Viman Nagar has claimed the advert was not intentional (PICS: DHANANJAY HELWADE)
Activist serves legal notice to civil surgeon, PMC alleging fertility clinic promises baby ‘Krishna’ for all.

A private fertility clinic has been caught on the wrong side of law after its bid for publicity was alleged to be a promotion to beget a male child. An activist has sent a legal notice to the district civil surgeon of Ahmednagar as well as the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), urging them to take action against Indira IVF centre at Viman Nagar for putting gender specific words in an advertisement for their camp in Ahmednagar.

Ganesh Borhade, who sent the notice three to four days ago, informed Mirror, “The advertisement says ‘Nisantaata Bharat Chhodo’ (Childlessness Leave India). It’s a campaign for every house to have Lord Krishna playing in the yard. Here, they could have used a gender neutral word. However, these words point at a male child. This is in contravention of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act.” For a case that falls under this Act, one can only approach the appropriate authority — a legal designation under the PCPNDT Act — in this case, the district civil surgeon to take suitable action. The reason Borhade sent a notice to PMC as well was because the IVF centre was under the civic body’s jurisdiction.

The advertisement had appeared in a prominent local daily in Ahmednagar on May 20. Subsequently, Borhade had sent a text message to the contact number provided. In reply, he was asked to visit Hotel Farhat on May 23 (last Saturday), where an appointment had been fixed for him in the morning. He, of course, didn’t pursue the appointment anymore.

Pointing to a general trend followed by clinics offering sex determination services, Borhade said, “They don’t inform you directly whether it’s a girl or a boy. They generally have male and female deities on either side of the wall. If it’s a girl child, they look upon the wall with the female god and pray and, in case of a male child, they pray to the male god. Such sign language is also prohibited by the PCPNDT Act.”

He has alleged that the IVF centre is covertly suggesting that it will help people to conceive a male child. “Why use the word Lord Krishna? Why not any other female goddess or, for that matter, just the word child?

This is leading people to believe that the clinic specialises in male children,” he stressed, adding that the authorities should have acted on their own accord, rather than wait for a legal notice.

When Mirror contacted the Ahmednagar civil surgeon, Dr S M Sonawane, he said, “I will immediately call for a copy of the newspaper and accordingly ask the state appropriate authority to take action. We will also give suitable replies to the legal notice.” On the other hand, PMC’s appropriate authority, Dr Vaishali Jadhav, informed, “We have sought an opinion from experts on this and will take action accordingly.”

However, Indira IVF centre insisted that the advert was a clear case of oversight, stressing that nothing was intentional. “We have strict norms when it comes to the PCPNDT Act. We support the Beti Bachao Andolan. Everywhere in the centre, and even on our letterhead, we have written that we do not practise prenatal sex determination here. We are originally based in Udaipur, so we think in Hindi. We did not think it would mean something like this when we wrote the ad. It was not our intention either,” said Nitiz Murdia, the clinic’s marketing head.

Modi’s shaky race to save India’s girls 


  • beti

Amritsar, May 23 (IANS/IndiaSpend) It’s a substantial but sparse two-room house, and flies infest the courtyard, buzzing ceaselessly around Manseerat Gill, 14 days old. Undisturbed by their buzzing, she sleeps peacefully.

For the next six years — thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s determination to fight the country’s bias against daughters — Manseerat’s well-being and survival will be the responsibility of a six-foot-tall man with piercing eyes and a full, flowing grey beard.

Ranjit Singh Buttar is a rare male gynaecologist here in this holy Sikh city, and as district health officer, he has many other tasks, including running rural health centres, delivering contraceptives and ensuring polio inoculations to every new born.

Amritsar is one of 100 Indian “gender-critical” districts — 10 are in Punjab, among India’s five richest states by per capita income — included in Modi’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save a daughter, educate a daughter)” programme, launched in January to fight the nation’s deep-rooted bias against daughters.

A poster for the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign is outside the District Commissioner’s office in Amritsar.

“The discrimination against girls is an illness, an illness of the heart, which leads us to think sons are more important,” said Modi at the launch. “Even in feeding, a mother adds ghee to a son’s ‘khichri’ but will deny this to a daughter.”

Modi is not the first prime minister to realise that is losing girls. While the 1990s saw three such programmes, since 2005 there have been 11 schemes, one following the other, to ensure that more girls — discriminated against at birth and in upbringing — are born, live, go to school and do not marry early.

Yet, the girls continue to disappear. About 2,000 girls die — aborted or starved, poisoned or otherwise killed after birth — every day in India, according to Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, who provided this data in April. The estimates of women so missing range from two million to 25 million.

Gandhi said Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao — which, among other things, seeks to eliminate gender-based foeticide and ensure survival of the girl child — was already showing surprising results.

“Hundreds of girl children are being thrown into orphanages in these 100 districts,” she told NDTV in an interview. “I was in Amritsar and the DC (Deputy commissioner) told me they had received 89 girls this month. I thought this is a weird statistic.”

It is. The minister got things wrong, INDIASPEND’s reporting indicates. The 82 girls she cites were abandoned in Amritsar not since January but since 2008, not as an impact of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ but as a general malaise of giving up daughters.

What Amritsar did since 2008 was to collect these abandoned children as part of a “Pangura” (cradle in Punjabi) programme, housed in an International Red Cross building. Parents can leave children at a cradle here, instead of on the road or in fields. When a child arrives, a bell alerts staff, who place it in a hospital and later with adoption agencies.

Pangura, which has a physical cradle placed in the International Red Cross building, has collected 82 abandoned girls in Amritsar since 2008.

Pangura received 92 children since 2008, 82 of them girls. The scheme is a reasonable success, but 82 girls saved over seven years will not impact skewed gender ratios. Besides, experts said abandoning daughters is no better than killing them.

PM Modi’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” programme appears to focus on changing mindsets. Its first step is to spread awareness: Mobile vans and material have reached districts.

What has not reached districts is money.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley set aside Rs.100 crore for ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ in the 2015-16 budget. Each district in the hundred gender-critical districts will get Rs.55 lakh for 2014-15, followed by Rs.31 lakh in 2015-16.

Buttar’s office is yet to get the first tranche of funds, two months after Jaitley’s announcement. Minister Gandhi’s office did not respond to INDIASPEND’s interview request.

If Modi’s programme has to impact pint-sized Manseerat, money, while important, is not the only factor. The effort, as past experience shows, cannot be piece-meal, split by bureaucracy, confused and uncoordinated.

India’s political history is littered with programmes to protect girls such as Manseerat. Dhanalakshmi. Bhagyalakshmi. Rajalakshmi. Ladli. Balri Rakshak Yojana. Indira Gandhi Balika Suraksha Yogana. Balika Samridhi Yojana. Beti Hai Anmol. Mukhya Mantri Kanya Suraksha Yojana. Mukhya Mantri Kanyadan Scheme. Most have been of limited or no efficacy, hobbled by a rigid array of conditions and uncertainties about why they have not worked.

“(Our) findings point to the need to simplify the eligibility criteria and conditionalities, and also the procedures of registration under each of these schemes,” noted a United Nations Population Fund study.

“Though year after year substantial financial resources have been directed towards promoting these schemes, there is a lack of field-level monitoring. In the absence of a proper grievance-redressal mechanism, the challenges often multiply. In some states, the lack of coordination across different sectors such as health, education and social welfare is adversely affecting programme implementation.”

Implementing officers complained that other departments did not cooperate with them. In some states, tardy coordination between financial institutions, such as banks and insurance companies, and implementing departments delayed bonds, certificates and bank accounts. In most schemes, the involvement of local village institutions, NGOs and women’s groups was “rather limited”, as the study noted.

The Ministry of Social Welfare has been the nodal ministry for some schemes. State governments run parallel programmes they can tom-tom at election time. The “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” programme, managed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, will be implemented through deputy commissioners and top bureaucrats in each district.

“The effort is fragmented. You need one entity that is then also responsible for results,” said Buttar, whose office has written a plan for the scheme’s implementation covering Amritsar district’s 15 towns and 739 villages, home to 2.5 million people, 8.9 percent of Punjab’s population.

In Punjab, fewer than 850 girls survive to reach the age of six, 68 less than India’s already poor average of 918 daughters to a 1,000 sons. Neighbouring Haryana has 12 districts in the programme. Maharashtra matches Punjab with 10 districts, where fewer girls are allowed to be born or survive compared to India’s average.

What Modi is up against is people’s desire for a male heir. “How can you expect daughters-in-law if you don’t have daughters?” Modi said at the public gathering on the launch of his scheme in Panipat, Haryana.

Not only do disappearing girls take a toll in terms of fewer number of brides and trafficking of women, India loses workforce talent and diversity. For instance, economists have struggled to explain the fall in women in India’s workforce — contrary to global trends — over the 2000s, despite a rise in industrialisation and prosperity.

“Labour participation, same emoluments for same work, nutritional standards–they paint a grim picture,” said Krishna Kumar, a Delhi University professor who has researched discrimination against girls.

Government programmes, he said, are populist but cannot trigger social change.

In Nangli village in Amritsar, Manseerat’s mother, Pinky, fresh-faced and 23, looks too young to have had two children. Both are daughters.

Pinky, 23, looks too young to have two children. Since both are girls, she might try to conceive again in the hope of having a son and “completing the family”.

Thanks to the presence of a trained health worker under the Rural Health Mission run by Buttar’s office, Manseerat was born in a hospital and not at home. She will also be innoculated. Her family of nine — sister, parents, grandparents, three unmarried uncles — live on a monthly income of Rs 15,000.

Pinky, who uses one name, has a ready laugh but it is clear she is disappointed with Manseerat.

“Could have been a son,” she said. “Her father says a son will complete the family.” Pinky’s conversation with her mother-in-law indicated she would give motherhood another shot–in hope of a son.

It is this desire for a male heir that Buttar’s office is up against.

Buttar, whose office keeps a record of gender ratios in Amritsar, said: “I am an eternal optimist; no effort goes waste.”

The optimism, in many ways mirroring Modi’s, will go only so far. To begin with, programmes for the girl child need to be brought under one roof, those involved in the programme said. The implementing department or ministry should have money, manpower and jurisdiction to use the carrot and stick: give incentives to have girls, hold awareness drives to change mindsets and prosecute under the law that criminalises female foeticide.

If the office of district family welfare officer is to be given the key responsibility for Modi’s mission, then that office needs to be rid of diverse tasks, such as running rural health clinics, distributing contraceptives and family planning programmes.

Amritsar’s district family welfare office, headed by Ranjit Singh Buttar. It is already overstretched, serving a population of 2.5 million across 15 towns and 739 villages.

Over two years, 2011-2013, no more than 32 people were punished under the law that criminalises pre-birth gender testing; gender-testing cases reported stood at 563, according to the Press Trust of India. Thirty states have not had even one conviction under this law, noted the Supreme Court of India.

Outside Buttar’s cabin, junior officer Tripta Sharma explained how she successfully played a decoy pregnant woman. She was sent to an ultra-sound clinic that was alleged to have violated the law by offering gender tests. The police made an arrest. But eight court appearances over a year and a half exhausted Sharma. The court dismissed the case.

“We are doctors, not lawyers,” said Buttar, who said his office would appeal the acquittal. He frequently raids ultrasound clinics, checking a third of them by rotation. With reluctant decoys, all his office has by way of checks on doctors and clinics is a document called “Form F”, on which clinics must declare the purpose of the pre-birth test and the doctor-in-charge.

Academic research on female foeticide — research which is dated by now, as foeticide peaked during the 2000s and then dropped off – -has discouraging findings. Female foeticide increases with easy access to medical facilities, ability to pay doctors and the availability of good roads, which cut down travel time, according to demographer Ashish Bose in his book-sex-selective Abortion in India, based on fieldwork in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

In short, progress means more girls could die. Modi’s programme could mean a lot to Manseerat’s future–but not in its current form.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/modi-s-shaky-race-to-save-india-s-girls-special-to-ians-115052300256_1.html

 

Eight wards shame Mumbai with skewed sex ratio at birth


Child sex ratio in India

 

 

By | Feb 20, 2013, 06.57 AM IST

 

MUMBAI: While the civic administration’s statistics show that the sex ratio at birth for Mumbai has improved slightly in the last one year, experts are not too impressed. They say that the administration has to sustain such results over a decade before there is any significant change in the city’s or even India‘s skewed sex ratio.

 

A senior civic official, however, insisted that any increase, however small, is a step in the right direction.

Both Maharashtra and Mumbai, in particular, have shown an anti-girl bias in the last two census.

Civic figures show that the sex ratio at birth – the number of girls born per 1,000 boys – for 2012 was 922:1,000, up from 917 in 2011. But a closer look at the ward-wise break-up shows that eight wards have registered a dip in sex ratio at birth.

In south Mumbai’s Pydhonie area, for instance, only 860 girls were born for every 1,000 boys last year.

In 2011, the locality was placed better at 981 girls per 1,000 boys. In fact, the Pydhonie-Byculla-Parel belt of the island city, the prosperous Goregaon-Malad-Kandivli belt of the western suburbs and the populous belt from Bhandup to Ghatkopar in the eastern suburbs have all shown a dip in sex ratio at birth.

A L Sharada from the NGO, Population First, said it would be premature to think that such marginal increase is of any significance. She added that easy access to medical tools such as ultrasound machines, which can illegally be used to find the sex of the unborn child, was responsible for the skewed sex ratio.

“The cost of living in Mumbai is high. People want small families and still have a great desire for a male child. This is true in both the slums as well as non-slum pockets of the city,” she said.

Sharada added that the BMC should now study why certain areas, such as Parel in south central Mumbai, have consistently registered a lower-than-city-average sex ratio.

Her NGO had earlier conducted a survey to underline poor adherence among ultrasound clinics of the rules laid down under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act.

“Until there is stringent conviction for offenders and better gender sensitivity among the population, the problem of skewed sex ratio at birth cannot be solved,” said Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Forum Against Sex Selection.

 

 

 

 

Sex Selection -Illegal ads on #Google in contravention PCPNDT ACT


To

Corporate communication

Google, India

2 November 2012

Complaint—Regarding illegal ads on Google in contravention PCPNDT ACT

The Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act has banned the promotion or advertisement of services that allows one to choose the sex of one’s baby. Yet, Google is carrying advertisements of  the link of IVF that leads to websites that offer these services. Each time a person clicks on the ad, these companies makes money.

The Indian law against sex selection is comprehensive.   Section 22 defines advertisement and Section 26 states the penalties for violation by Companies.  They are given below:

Section 22:  Prohibition of advertisement relating to pre-natal determination of sex and punishment for contravention.

1.    No person, organization, Genetic Counseling Centre, Genetic Laboratory or Genetic Clinic, including clinic, laboratory or centre having ultrasound machine or imaging machine or scanner or any other technology capable of undertaking determination of sex of foetus or sex selection shall issue, publish, distribute, communicate or cause to be issued, published, distributed or communicated any advertisement, in any form, including Internet, regarding facilities of pre-natal determination of sex or sex selection before conception available at such centre, laboratory, clinic or at any other place.
2.    No person or organization including Genetic Counselling Centre, Genetic Laboratory or Genetic Clinic shall issue, publish, distribute, communicate or cause to be issued, published, distributed or communicated any advertisement in any manner regarding pre-natal determination or preconception selection of sex by any means whatsoever, scientific or otherwise.
3.    Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, “advertisement” includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper or any other document including advertisement through Internet or any other media in electronic or print form and also includes any visible representation made by means of any hoarding, wall-painting, signal, light, sound, smoke or gas.

26. Offences by companies.

(1) Where any offence, punishable under this Act has been committed  by a company, every person who, at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly: Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he had exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where any offence punishable under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. Explanation.–For the purposes of this section,– (a) “company” means anybody corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals, and

(b) “director”, in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.

The Indian Parliament enacted a special law because the medical community was not self-regulating these serious violations of medical ethics. The practice of sex selection is prohibited while foetal sex determination is regulated.

The PCPNDT Act applies to advertisements and content that advertises sex selection or foetal sex determination  methods/procedures/techniques.  Any form of advertising in India that promotes techniques, products or procedures of sex selection, sex determination is a violation of the law.

In 2008, theSupreme Court of India had served notices to you,  yet  violations of the law continue with impunity and  in response Google had issued a statement saying  “The Google advertising program is managed by a set of policies which we develop based on several factors, including legal requirements and user experience. In India, we do not allow ads for the promotion of prenatal gender determination or preconception sex selection. We take local laws extremely seriously and will review the petition carefully.”

But once again sex selection ads are mushrooming in your search engine in India  and the   continued violation in the Indian Internet space by  your company is  shocking.

Although the google policy when you click here http://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=176072

India

Product Allowed? Details
Dowryrequests  Not allowed Google doesn’t allow ads or landing pages that promote dowry requests or the offering or sale of dowry. “Dowry” means any property or valuable security given by the bride to the groom for marriage.
Doctor, lawyer, or accountant services  Not allowed Google doesn’t allow ads for services offered by doctors, lawyers, or accountants.
Gender or sex selection  Not allowed Google doesn’t allow ads or landing pages that promote the pre-natal determination of the gender of a child, or pre-conception selection of sex.
Infant food, milk substitutes, feeding bottles  Not allowed Google doesn’t allow ads or landing pages that promote or encourage the use of infant food, milk substitutes, or feeding bottles.

When  you  search of gender selection or sex selection on your search engine  you  get a sponsored ad

wherein you can also order the gender selection kit online

I demand you immediately remove gender /sex selection ads from google search engine in India

Adv Kamayani Bali Mahabal, for Forum against Sex Selection (FASS) Mumbai

cc 1) Director, PNDT Division, New Delhi

2) Cybercrime cell, Mumbai

 

FASS protests Maharashtra govt’s plans to slap murder charges for sex selection


We, the undersigned women’s organizations, strongly protest the statement made by the Health Minister, Mr Suresh Shetty who wants to recommend to the Central Government the application of section 302 (murder charges) against woman, husband, relatives and the doctors for cases of “sex selection”.

According to the PCPNDT Act, sex selection (the correct legal term) itself is a crime and the doctors involved should be punished as per the provisions under the act. The pregnant woman on whom sex selection is performed or undertaken is not an offender according to the act. This should be upheld in Maharashtra.

We have always demanded the continuous and strict monitoring of sonography centers, hospitals and nursing homes and strict action against all unlicensed centers. Instead of concentrating on this issue and doctors who misuse medical technology, the discussion in the assembly focused on abortions. According to the MTP Act, abortions are a women’s right. We fear that applying section 302 (IPC) would curtail women’s access to safe abortion services.

We demand that the law deals strictly with those who perform the crime of sex selection. The political protection to erring doctors is a serious problem in Maharashtra and the government should take steps to put an end to political interference in implementation of PCPNDT Act.

AIDWA
Akshara
Committed Communities Development Trust Population First
Population first
Stree Mukti Sanghthana

Savitribai Phule Gender Resource Centre
Forum Against Sex Selection

FASS submits Memorandum to the CM Maharashtra regarding actions on sex selection


contact–fassindia2011@gmail.com

 

 

7th  June, 2012

To,
Honourable  Shri. Prithviraj Chavan,

Chief Minister ,Maharashtra  State

Mantralay Mumbai
Subject : Appropriate actions about sex selection.

Respected Sir,

Forum against Sex Selection (FASS) is a network with over 50  Ngo’s and individual members . FASS has conducted interactive workshops to discuss its perspective and plan strategies to take the FASS campaign forward and to understand challenges to implementing the PCPNDT Act. Apart from improving the sex ratio, the main thrust of the FASS campaign is to strengthen the overall position of women in our State and to enable women to live with dignity, in a non-discriminatory environment.

We appreciate your efforts to stop the violations of PCPNDT Act and the brazenness of the doctors conducting sex determination tests and subsequent illegal abortions.

We are deeply concerned & apprehensive of the dwindling sex ratio all over Maharashtra and demand serious attention of the Government in protecting the girl child and all the women related health issues.

As you are aware  the women’s organizations have been trying to draw your attention  to female feticide practices in various districts of Maharashtra, in some districts such as Beed, Parbhani, Kolhapur etc. the sex selection  has reached to disproportionate  heights resulting in alarming discrimination of the girl child. In the light of the heinous crimes being committed against women and the girl child we make following demands and suggestions and request you to give priority to this issue.

a ) We demand that utmost care be taken to implement the PCPNDT Act & punish the guilty persons causing, committing , assisting  ins ex selection  ; however care should be taken to not punish the victim women.

b ) The Government must carefully examine the registration of  sonography machines and the records thereof. The doctors or the hospitals or clinics violating the provisions  of PCPNDT act be brought to the Book &  due legal action be taken immediately.

c ) The medical shops be directed to not to sell drugs & injections related to abortions & contraception without prescription of authorized doctors.

d) Immediate action against erring be taken. The  doctors and clinics whose sonography  machines are once sealed may not be allowed to use the same till their cases are over.

e ) More facilities be made available in Govt. and municipal hospitals for pregnant women including  sonography,  contraceptives, abortions and other medical issues.

f ) The women activists and organizations committed to the cause of prevention of sex selection and reproductive  rights of women be included in the committees under PCPNDT Act.

g ) We demand that under no circumstances the right to abortion as stipulated in the MTP Act be curtailed.

h ) We draw your attention to the recent  directive issued by State Chief Secretary Jayantkumar Banthia dated 4 June 2012 to curb sex selection cases. We demand that proper discussion be made with women activists and organizations before implementing the same.

I) Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1972. Safe abortion within the provisions of the MTP Act is the right of every woman. Access to safe abortion services has remained a challenge in India. An estimated 6.7 million abortions per year are performed in institutions not recognized by the government  India continues to have among the highest maternal mortality rates in the world (254 per 100,000 live births per year). Up to 13% of these are caused by unsafe abortions, which is the third leading cause of maternal deaths

j ) There is also a need to monitor the functioning of Appropriate Authorities and ensure their proper functioning in coordination with  the women organizations working on the issue of gender discrimination.

Limiting access to safe abortion methods only pushes women towards unsafe methods, thereby endangering their health and survival. Monitoring women buying pills from pharmacies is regressive as it undermines the confidentiality aspect of abortion and can lead to harassment of women at the hands of officials. Such regulations are discriminatory and curtail autonomy of women over their own body, right to dignity and right to benefit from advances of science, medicine and technology.

Sex selection is  a phenomenon which emerges from gender discrimination and socio-economic bias. All efforts to prevent  sex selection must seek to address issues of gender discrimination, but not further constrain women’s access to safe abortion services.

We urge the  Government to focus on better implementation of the PCPNDT Act with diligent monitoring and supervision of technologies that have the potential to be misused.

We hope you will pay attention to those very urgent  demands & take appropriate steps.
Yours sincerely,

ForumAgainst Sex Selection (FASS), Mumbai
Core Group members

Dr. Kamakshi Bhate, Savitribai Phule GenderResource Centre (SPGRC)
Dr. A.L. Sharada, Population First
Dr. Nandita Shah, Akshara
Jyoti Mhapsekar, Stree Mukti Sanghatana
Adv Kamayani  Bali Mahabal,  Human Rights  Lawyer and  Activist
Lakshmi Menon, Women Networking
Pramod Nigudkar, Committed Communities Development Trust (CCDT)
Sneha Khandekar, SPGRC
Vaijayanti Bagwe, CCDT

Copy to :

Shri. Suresh Shetty
Honorable Minister of Public Health and
Family Welfare
Maharashtra State Government, Mumbai.

Sex determination tests happen not only in India but also in West with sizable Indian population


English: Young women looking at the Bay of Ben...

English: Young women looking at the Bay of Bengal at Puducherry, India Français : Jeunes femmes regardant le golfe du Bengale à Pondichéry, Inde (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3 JUN, 2012, SAIRA KURUP,TNN

In mid-April, a reproductive clinic’s ad appeared in a newspaper for the Indo-Canadian community in British Columbia, inviting readers to “create the family you want, boy or girl, for family balancing” with the help of pre-conception sex selection. The two children in the ad wore ethnic Indian clothes.

The newspaper withdrew the ad following public outrage, while the clinic was accused of targeting cultural attitudes that perpetuate discrimination against girls. But the writing was on the wall.

For long, sex selection has been an  issue identified with countries like India and China where the usual rationales given include dowry, patriliny (descent or inheritance by the male line), one-child policy or dependence on kids’ support in old age. But now, studies in Canada, Norway, US and UK show the persistence of this cultural attitude within the diaspora too.

Dr Shiv Pande, a Liverpool-based general practitioner and a former treasurer of the General Medical Council in Britain, says: “As they say, Indians, wherever they go, carry their curry, customs and cultural baggage. Sex selection of the foetus is quite common among British Indians, though not known widely.”

In 2007, two Oxford academics, Sylvie Dubuc and David Coleman, carried out a study of the sex ratio, using the annual birth registrations in England and Wales between 1969 and 2005, and found that there was “indirect quantitative evidence of prenatal sex selection against females performed by a small minority of India-born women in England and Wales”. Interestingly, the study found no such evidence regarding Pakistan-born and Bangladesh-born women living in England and Wales.

Says Sylvie, “Based on numbers from my previous work, I estimated the number of missing baby girls for the period 1990-2005 to be about 1500. Note that these figures relate to immigrant (i.e. India-born ) women only (and not UK-born women of Indian origin).”

In February 2012, an investigation by the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper discovered that some clinics were prepared to carry out such abortions with few, if any, questions asked. Likewise, the British Columbia newspaper ad came just days after a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAG) analyzed 766,688 births in Ontario and found mothers born in South Korea and India were more likely to have boys for their second child.

When it came to having a third child, the male-to-female ratio grew even more skewed for India-born mothers, who had 136 boys for every 100 girls (the world average ratio is 105:100).

Lead researcher of the study and scientist at St Michael’s hospital in Toronto, Joel G Ray, says, “Women from India and South Korea who had previous children were significantly more likely to give birth to males. For India-born women with more than one prior child, the male-female ratios were even more pronounced.”
Ray, however, cautions that “we (or anyone else) do not have direct evidence this is due to foetal sex selection.” But Mahvish Parvez of the Indo-Canadian Women’s Association in Edmonton, says, “There is a strong suggestion that the skewed ratio is due to sex-selective abortion. We know that son preference strongly persists in immigrant communities.”

 

Many western nations have banned sex selection for non-medical purposes – the US is a notable exception. It is a profitable business there, with gender determination technologies easily available, both online and offline, and clients flying in from the UK, Australia and probably India too.

In 2006, two professors from Columbia University, Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund, examined the year 2000 US Census data and found that while more boys than girls are born by a ratio of 1.05 to 1 among families of Chinese, Korean and Indian descent, the ratio increased if the first child was a girl. If the first two children are girls, the ratio was 50% greater in favour of boys.

It’s no surprise to community activists. Maneesha Kelkar, women’s rights activist and former executive director of Manavi, a New Jersey-based organization, remembers taking a call from a woman who said she was sitting on the operating table in an abortion clinic and was being forced to have an abortion.

“She didn’t tell me if the foetus was a girl, or why she was being told to have the abortion. When I asked what was preventing her from walking out, she said, ‘My in-laws are in the waiting room’ .”

Following such alarming reports of immigrant cultural behaviour, US Congressman Trent Franks had introduced a bill to ban sex-selective abortions (the Congress rejected it on Thursday). Kelkar feels the language around the Bill was “extremely anti-immigrant, anti-women”.

It “was going to target the immigrant community and add to the already anti-immigrant feeling in the US. It is unlikely to prevent Indian families from aborting female foetuses. You cannot legislate away a social issue.”

The negative publicity for the Indian community is one reason why some researchers caution against jumping the gun. Prabhat Jha, founding director of the Centre for Global Health Research, Toronto, says, “We need more evidence to confirm what is a suggestive pattern.

The Ontario estimates suggested selective abortion is still uncommon – about 1% of all births to South Asian-born women. Even in India, selective abortion is about 2% of all births. We need to be careful about stigma – do we want the 99% of South Asian families who don’t chose selective abortion in Ontario (if true, and that is not certain) to have a label as such?” He also warns that “we need to be very careful about putting any barriers that prevent women, especially newly migrant women who have low use of health care, from accessing good technologies (like ultrasound).”

The problem is that many immigrants live within their own social enclaves and may face the same social pressures as they would in India. Kelkar says, “I have heard so many women say, “Let my first child be a boy, then I won’t worry about the next.” It’s all about undervaluing the girl child, whether it is Surat, Southall or San Francisco.

(With inputs from Vrushali Haldipur in New York and Ashis Ray in London)

Harassed by husband for 30 years for not conceiving, Maha woman gives birth at 52


Snehlata.Shrivastav@timesgroup.com

Nagpur:

Narmada Wakode, a 52-year-old woman from a remote village in Akola district, was so desperate to have a baby that she was even ready to die after giving birth. Her husband had been harassing her for the past 30 years for not conceiving.

Doctors at the Acharya Vinoba Bhave Rural Hospital attached to Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences in Wardha converted her dream into a reality. Wakode conceived using an assisted reproductive technology (test tube baby). The baby girl is now over a month old.

“Besides blocked tubes, Narmada had many other infertility-related problems. She came to the hospital about a year back with very high sugar. It took us two months to control her diabetes. But she was lucky to have conceived in the first cycle. We used a special IVF technique called as Intra-Cytoplasmic Morphologically Selected Sperm Injection or IMSI,” said Dr Deepti Shrivastava, director of the Wardha test tube baby centre, who treated her all through the pregnancy.

Dr Shrivastava said that infertility is emerging as a big social problem. Wakode’s husband was an alcoholic and often ill-treated her. “Fearing her husband, Narmada had stayed back at the hospital for all the eight and half months after conceiving. No family member was present with her when she was to deliver through a caesarean section. But the child has made such a big difference to the life of this couple that the husband has quit drinking,” she told TOI.

Though the baby was delivered on February 12, the mother is yet to be discharged as they wanted to ensure that the baby was normal. They also could not afford to travel frequently to the hospital.

Dr Shrivastava says Narmada’s case was a real challenge due to her age. “But since she was not ready to give up even I decided to do my best. Though the hospital charges meagre amount for IVF, she was ready to spend whatever she had,” she added.

Wakode, who is a resident of Changalwadi village in Telhara taluka of Akola district, required minute monitoring and hormonal support all through. Her husband Shriram told TOI that he had no words to express his feelings. “I am very happy,” he said.

Ekta Kapoor welcomes baby boy, uses own eggs & surrogate for birth


Mumbai:

Using her own eggs that were frozen years back and the assisted reproductive technique of surrogacy, film and television producer Ekta Kapoor welcomed her first baby on January 27.

Her brother Tushhar, too, had opted for surrogacy to have a son in 2016.

Barely a month ago, the Lok Sabha cleared a bill banning commerical surrogacy that prohibits singles, homosexuals and live-in couples from using surrogates to have children. The bill was initially criticised by doctors who felt a woman’s medical condition, and not “labels” such as singles and homosexuals, should be used to decide who can use surrogacy to have children. The government has held that the bill would end exploitation of women for surrogacy.

In Kapoor’s case, her doctors said over the past few years she had tried other fertility techniques, including intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF), to have a baby.

“She had undergone three IUI and three IVF cycles that failed. That is when surrogacy was thought as the option,” said her treating doctor Nandita Palshetkar.

Palshetkar further said that she and Dr Hrishikesh Pai carried out the treatment at their Bloom IVF centre in Opera House while the child, who has been named Ravie Kapoor, was born at Surya Hospital, Santacruz.

“The baby is healthy, weighed over three kilos and was discharged a day later,” said pediatrician Dr Bhupendra Avasthi of Surya Hospital.

In a press statement, Kapoor said, “By God’s grace, I have seen many successes in my life, but nothing beats the feeling of this beautiful soul being added in my world. I cannot even begin to express how happy my baby’s birth has made me. Everything in life doesn’t go the way you want it to, but there are always solutions to those hiccups. I found mine and today I feel immensely blessed to become a parent.”

Dr Palshetkar said Kapoor has been trying for years. “She had frozen her eggs which were used for the IUI and IVF cycles, but it unfortunately didn’t work out.”

India decided to ban commercial surrogacy after complaints that poor women were lured with the promise of lakhs and kept in unsanitary conditions away from their own families to act as a surrogate. Most western countries ban commercial surrogacy. India decided to keep foreigners, including PIOs (people of Indian origin), from seeking surrogacy in India.

Doctors, though, clarified that the new version of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 offers a moratorium for couples who have already carried out the paperwork. “As per the new provisions, there is a 10-month moratorium after the bill becomes an Act,” said Dr Hrishikesh Pai. Kapoor had signed up for surrogacy nine months ago.

Lok Sabha clears Bill banning commercial surrogacy


 

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 which aims at banning commercial surrogacy to protect women from exploitation even as it proposes to allow altruistic surrogacy for infertile Indian couples by a “close relative” only. The couple also has to be legally married for at least five years and possess a certificate from a doctor stating that they are medically unfit to produce a child, according to provisions of the bill.

Singles, homosexuals and live-in couples cannot apply for surrogacy. Besides, couples who already have children will not be allowed to opt for surrogacy. The bill entitles only Indian citizens to avail of surrogacy, whereas foreigners, NRIs and PIOs are not allowed to commission surrogacy in India. The bill was passed after an hour-long debate in Lok Sabha amid protests by Congress and AIADMK MPs over various issues.

Woman allowed to be a surrogate only once

Though members of different parties who spoke during the debate supported the bill, some including Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of Trinamool Congress and Supriya Sule (NCP) exhorted the government to expand the scope of the bill.

According to the provisions of the bill, women within the age group of 23 years to 50 years and men aged between 26 and 55 years will be eligible to go in for surrogacy. The child, thus born, will be deemed to be the legal offspring of the intended couple. Also, a woman can be a surrogate only once in her lifetime.

The bill was approved by the Cabinet in August 2016. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha in November 2016 and was later referred to a parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare in January 2017.

Once enacted by Parliament, the National Surrogacy Board will be constituted at the central level, while the states and Union Territories will constitute the state surrogacy boards and State Appropriate Authorities within three months of the notification by the central government.

Terming the bill as historic, health minister J P Nadda said different sections of the society, political parties, the Supreme Court and the Law Commission have spoken against commercial surrogacy and that the bill addresses these concerns.

With no law governing surrogacy, India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries. There have been incidents of unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers and abandonment of children born out of surrogacy. Apart from protecting women from abuse, the bill also aims to protect rights of children born out of surrogacy.

Failed surrogacy procedure: Consumer forum orders IVF clinic to pay 3 lakh compensation


Bengaluru IVF facility ordered to refund Rs 4.8 lakhs to Mysuru man

A consumer court asked a city-based fertility clinic to pay Rs 3 lakh in compensation to a man, besides Rs 4.75 lakh it collected for a surrogate baby. Mahesh S (name changed) is a divorcee from Mysuru who wanted to have a child through surrogacy. …

 

The facility had told the man that he would be able to have twins through surrogacy, but then backtracked on its promises.

An In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) facility in Bengaluru’s Indiranagar has reportedly been ordered by a city consumer court to refund 4.8 lakhs to a man who had paid the amount in order to have a child through surrogacy.

The 40-year-old Mysuru native is a divorcee who had seen an ad in a paper in 2016 by Dr Rama’s Fertility IVF Centre stating that it offered surrogacy services for those looking to have a child through the same. As per reports, the man contacted the centre and was told that for a total of 7 lakh rupees, they would be able to help him and for an additional 1.5 lakh rupees he’d be able to have twins. On the first visit, he was to pay the initial fees of 2.25 lakhs. Subsequently, he ended up paying a total of 4.8 lakhs as advised, only to be told later by doctors that single men were not eligible to have a child through this method.

Suspecting that some foul play was afoot, he approached a city consumer court which ordered the clinic to refund his money.

The man stated that it took the hospital nearly eight months to introduce a surrogate mother to him. He was coerced into paying 2.5 lakhs more. When he was to meet the surrogate mother, he was told that she had met with an accident on the way to the hospital, and had taken half of the money and absconded.

When the man and his family confronted the IVF centre, they said that single men were not eligible to have children through surrogacy and refused to give him his refund. However, when he insisted on a full refund, the doctors told him that they had found him another surrogate.

In March of this year the victim approached a consumer court in Shantinagar with his complaint. On October 26, the court ordered the doctors to pay the man 3 lakhs as compensation as well as refund him his 4.8 lakhs.

Woman doctor held in Sangli for illegal abortions


Kolhapur:

The health department of Sangli Miraj Kupwad Municipal Corporation on Saturday raided a hospital in Ganeshnagar area and found documents and medicines revealing that seven illegal abortions had allegedly been carried out so far by a doctor couple and the hospital owner, who is also a doctor.

It may be recalled that in March last year, an illegal abortion racket was busted in Sangli’s Mhaisal town. Sangli city police, on Monday, arrested Rupali Chougule, a doctor, in connection with the abortions. The district collector said he has written to Medical Council of India, seeking that Chougule’s degree be cancelled. Two other doctors are also wanted in the case.

Police are attempting to trace remains of the aborted foetuses. A preliminary inquiry shows the doctor would get the couples to dispose of the foetus. Police are still to recover aborted foetuses.

District collector Vijaykumar Kalam Patil said, “The licence of the hospital has been cancelled. We have arrested Rupali Chougule and will arrest the other two doctors also. We have sought guidance from experts to make the case strong, so it holds in court. I have written to the MCI to abolish the degrees of these doctors.”

Civic chief Ravindra Khebudkar said all sonography centres and hospitals will be thoroughly scrutinised every three months and a dedicated team of doctors will be deployed for the task. Rupali Chougule is assigned a primary health centre in Sangli district while another suspect is deputed at Gargoti PHC in Kolhapur district. The health administration of both districts have sought case details from Sangli police, and could terminate the services of these doctors

https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/?olv-cache-ver=20180917041719

PNDT Rules: Health Ministry Proposes Amendments, Invites comments


PNDT Rules: Health Ministry Proposes Amendments, Invites comments

The view/ suggestion from the stakeholder and general public is solicited and the same may be sent through email on sopndt-mohfw@nic.in on or before 14th August 2018.

New Delhi: Through a recent public notice, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has put in public domain certain proposed  amendments  to the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection)(Six Months Training) Rules 2014. and also invited suggestions from the public in this regard

A copy of proposed amendments is enclosed herewith. The amendments primarily talk about the amendments to the Six Months Training Rules, 2014 to regularise the legalities related to the six months course for MBBS and properly define the rules thereof . The rules clearly lay down that the scope of the training will be limited to  prepare the MBBS doctor to conduct prenatal diagnostics only.

The view/ suggestion from the stakeholder and general public is solicited and the same may be sent through email on sopndt-mohfw@nic.in on or before 14th August 2018.

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE SIX MONTHS TRAINING RULES, 2014

Rule No. Existing Proposed Change
Rule 3 Nomenclature of the Six months training in ultrasonography.- The six months training imparted under these rules shall be known as “the Fundamentals in Abdomino- Pelvic Ultrasonography: Level one for M.B.B.S. Doctors”. Scope and Nomenclature of the Six months training in ultrasonography-  Six months training in ultrasonography will Qualify and prepare the MBBS doctor to conduct prenatal diagnostics only. The six months training imparted under these rules shall be known as “the Fundamentals in Obstetrics and Gynecology Ultrasonography: Level one for M.B.B.S. Doctors”.

 

Rule 6 Eligibility for training.

  1. Any registered medical practitioner shall be eligible for undertaking the said six months
  2. The existing registered medical practitioners, who are conducting ultrasound procedures in a Genetic Clinic or Ultrasound Clinic or Imaging Centre on the basis of one year experience or six month training are exempted from undertaking the said training provided they are able to qualify the competency-based assessment specified in Schedule II and in case of failure to clear the said competency-based exam, they shall be required to undertake the complete six months of training, as provided under these rules, for the purpose of renewal of registrations.

 

 Eligibility for training.-

  1. Any registered medical practitioner shall be eligible for undertaking the said six months training.
  2. The existing registered medical practitioners, who are conducting ultrasound procedures in a Genetic Clinic or Ultrasound Clinic or Imaging Centre on the basis of one year experience or six month training are exempted from undertaking the said training provided they are able to qualify the competency-based assessment as per the syllabus specified in Schedule II except the lo2., book and in case of failure to clear the said competency-based exam after two attempts, they shall be required to undertake the complete six months of training, as provided under these rules, for the purpose of renewal of registrations.
Rule 7  Accreditation of institutions for six months training and its recognition.– The following teaching institutions would be accredited as training centres to impart the six months training

namely-

(a) Centres of excellence established under the Acts of Parliament

(b) Medical Council of lndia recognised institutions offering Post Graduate programmes in Obstetrics or GynaecologY and Radiology:

(c) Institutions offering full-time residency DNB programme in Obstetrics or Gynaecology and Radiology.

 Accreditation of institutions for six months training and its recognition.- The following teaching institutions would be accredited as training centres to impart the Six Months Training,namely:-
(a) No change

(b) Medical Council of India recognised
institutions offering Post Graduate programmes in Obstetrics and Gynaecology or Radiology;

(c) institutions offering full-time residency DNB programme in Obstetrics and GynaecologY or
Radiology.

Rule 8  Selection of students.-(l) The selection and intake of registered
medical practitioners for admission to such trainings shall be on the basis of the following criteria:
a) Intake for admission to such training shall be 1:1 teacher to student ratio.

b) Selection shall be as per the merit list of the State postgraduate entrance exam.

c) 20% reservation for in-service candidates.

 Selection of students.-

(1) The selection and intake of registered medical practitioners for admission to such trainings shall be on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Intake for admission to such trainings shall be up to 1:4 teacher to student ratio. .
  2. Selection shall be as per the merit list of the State Post Graduate Entrance Exam or any other appropriate merit recognised by the state.
  3. Preference up to 50 % shall be given to the  in-service candidates
  4. Seats as mutually decided by the States/UTs shall be provided to the candidates from other States/ UTs where there are no  accredited institutes for imparting six  months training in
    ultrasonography
Rule 9  Changed criteria to be made prospective.- These rules shall come into force with immediate effect in case of new registrations. However, all registered medical practitioners employed in a Genetic Clinic or Ultrasound Changed criteria to be made prospective.- These rules shall come into force with immediate effect in case of new registrations. However, all registered medical practitioners employed in a Genetic Clinic or Ultrasound Changed criteria to be made prospective.- These rules shall come into force with immediate effect in case of new registrations. However, all registered medical practitioners employed in a Genetic Clinic or Ultrasound Clinic or Imaging Centre on the basis of one year experience or six months training and failed to qualify the competency-based exam two attempts as per the syllabus specified in Schedule II- except the logbook- shall have to apply and clear six months training on or before 31st of December.2019.
Rule 14  Validity of the training certificate.-
Certification of training obtained from any State shall be applicable for the purposes of registration under Act in all States.
 Validity of the training certificate:
Certificate for qualifying Six Months Training in Ultrasonography and the Competency-based exams shall be issued jointly by Director of Medical Education and State Appropriate
Authority Certification of training obtained from any State shall be applicable for the
purposes of registration under Act in all
States/ UTs.

 

India -13 women die every day due to unsafe abortions


HIGHLIGHTS

  • Thousands of deaths are reported from unsafe abortions due to lack of trained abortion providers.
  • Lack of knowledge about the legality of abortion and availability of safe services are also causes of death.
  • This is compounded by the social stigma, especially when unmarried women are concerned
Abortion in India

Women and their relatives in a maternity ward in Madhya Pradesh. (Photo: Reuters)

Every day 13 women die in India due to unsafe abortion-related causes. Nearly 6.4 million pregnancies are terminated every year in India. Unsafe abortion, the third leading cause of maternal deaths in the country, contributes eight per cent of all such deaths annually.

Thousands of deaths are reported from unsafe abortions due to lack of trained abortion providers, lack of knowledge about the legality of abortion and availability of safe services, compounded by the social stigma surrounding abortion.

Research shows more than 80 per cent of women do not know that abortion is legal in India and this contributes to women seeking terminations from backstreet providers.

WHY THE QUACKS RULE

While close to 70 per cent of facilities in the public sector in many states offer comprehensive abortion-care services, only 30 per cent of primary health-care centres — which are the first place that village women visit — offer services.

In Bihar and Jharkhand, studies show that 20 per cent of residents know that abortion is legal, whereas in Madhya Pradesh only 12 per cent are aware of the legality of the abortion. In addition, a recent study in Madhya Pradesh revealed that a woman has to travel an average distance of 20 km to reach an abortion provider.

Stigma and attitudes toward women — particularly young, unmarried women — seeking abortion also contribute to the number of unsafe abortions. Some providers refuse to perform abortions on young women or demand that they bring their parents to the health centre. This forces many women to turn to clandestine and unsafe abortions. While the law requires the consent of only the woman if she is over the age of 18 years, in practice, many providers also ask for consent from the spouse or another relative.

A girl stands on posters during a rally against abortion in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. (Photo: Reuters)

fgfDespite the liberal law — Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP Act) — that governs abortions in India, non-availability of trained providers, and detailed documentation coupled with poor knowledge about the legality of abortions contribute to abortion-related deaths.

Estimates indicate that two to four per cent of all abortions in the country are son selective abortions. In India, 80-90 per cent of reported abortions take place in the first trimester, while the sex selection is largely an issue in the second trimester.

Poor, young and unmarried women are more likely to delay abortion because they are often poorly informed on many fronts: they may not understand the signs of pregnancy, possibility or legality of obtaining the abortion and the location of safe services.

Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers serve as the first source of help for rural women when it comes to abortion. (Photo source: American India Foundation)

SOLUTION

To bring down the overall maternal mortality rate, it is imperative that access to safe abortion is made available.

Strengthen access to safe abortion services in the current context:Dissemination and implementation of the comprehensive abortion care training and service delivery guidelines are imperative. It needs to be ensured that providers are trained and equipment and drugs are available at all level of facilities.

Expand the base of legal abortion providers: India basically has a ‘physician only’ abortion law. The number of providers could be significantly increased by amending the law to authorise medical practitioners with a bachelor’s degree in unani, Ayurveda or homoeopathy to provide abortion care.

Increase the upper gestational limit for abortion: In cases where there is a diagnosis of substantial foetal abnormalities, the MTP Act should be amended to allow for later terminations, i.e. beyond 20 weeks of gestation.

Make the MTP Act comprehensive and clear: It needs to be clearly communicated that only the consent of women is required for the MTP procedure. This would address the common practice of providers insisting that a woman’s husband also consent to the abortion.

Simplify access to legal abortion services: As per the law currently, women must obtain the opinion of one doctor for a first-trimester abortion and the opinion of two doctors for a second-trimester abortion. Amending the MTP Act to simplify and reduce the requirement for a provider’s opinion for both first and second-trimester abortions would greatly increase women’s access.

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