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


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.

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.


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


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


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.

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




7th  June, 2012

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)


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)

Gujarat Medical Council suspends 5 doctors under PCPNDT Act

Taking stern action against defaulting doctors, the Gujrat Medical Council has ordered cancellation of registrations of five medical practitioners who had been caught performing sex determination, violating the provisions of the PC-PNDT Act. Charges under the relevant provisions of the law are already been framed against these doctors.
 The doctors whose license have been cancelled have been identified as Dr Paresh Sheth, Dr Kalpana Purohit, Dr Kirit Rajput, Dr Raxit Patel, Dr Arvindkumar Sharma.The duration of suspension of licenses for these doctors vary and depend on their individual cases.
Two of these offenders that is Dr Raxit Patel and Dr Paresh Sheth have lost their license for four weeks. TOI reports Dr Paresh Sheth to be a repeat offender, who had been allegedly caught earlier in 2009 and then in April 2, 2015. His license has been suspended for a period of four weeks ( for the time being) as charges are yet to be framed against him.
On the other hand, licenses of Dr Kalpana Purohit, Dr Kirit Rajput, have been cancelled for five years each, as they have been convicted by court. Dr Arvind Kumar Sharma’s License has been cancelled till he is cleared of the charges against him under the act

TN: More than 23 doctors booked under PC-PNDT Act in a year


Tamil Nadu: A recent revelation made by the Tamil Nadu Medical Council shows that more than 23 doctors have been booked under various violations of the PC-PNDT act in the past three years including ones of sex determination and sex selective abortions.

The violations of the Act range from simple recording errors to graver ones of sex Selective abortions. “This February we booked four cases. While most doctors were booked for poor record keeping, some doctors were booked for more serious offences such as illegal abortions,” said director of medical services S Mani to TOI.

The state medical Council is reported to have debarred one of the doctors. The case relates to one Neyveli-based gynaecologist whose case had been taken up after the complaint from Directorate of Medical Services. The Dr Dr K Ramachandran of Mahalakshmi Nursing Home had been caught assisting a patient in sex selective abortions. “The woman was told that she was having a baby girl, given pills for abortion and then taken to the theatre for abortion when we caught him. We have seized equipment including ultrasound and documents. The case is being heard by a Neyveli court,” said a senior official who was part of the inspection team.

As the case went to the Disciplinary committee of the state medical council, the committee has removed the doctor’s name for a period of two years. If the offence is found to be repeated then the name shall be removed permanently informed the committee members.

Another case highlighted went back to last year, when doctors Dharamapuri Medical College encountered a patient who had come in with severe bleeding after a quack in the area performed MTP on her. The said MTP had been based on an ultrasound performed at GG Ultra Sound Scan in one Dr Usha had allegedly informed the patient about the sex of the foetus.

In another case, the Central Investigation team found an unregistered ultrasound machine hidden in the operation theatre of one Saravana Scan Centre.  The authorities have been specifically on the hunt for finding unregistered ultrasound machines, which itseld is  a violation of the PC-PNDT Act.

With the sex ratio repeatedly falling in the state ( 946 in 2011 to 943 in 2015), the authorities have been reported to have stepped up their efforts on the implementation of PC-PNDT Act and getting even stricter with its violations.

7 Doctors booked for performing sex determination

7 Doctors booked for performing sex determination

Punjab and Haryana: A series of sting operations across the states of Punjab and Haryana, have revealed many doctors being caught red handed taking money to perform ultrasound for determination of sex of the foetus. As many as seven doctors had been booked yesterday in a series of raids/sting operations performed in the two states

One of the reports comes from the Yamunanagar in Haryana where two doctors have been caught by the health officials during a sting operation while performing sex determination on a decoy patient. The two doctors, a couple duo, had demanded Rs 40,000 for determining the sex of the foetus from a decoy patient, when they were caught red handed by the officials. The doctors duo, husband and wife, have been identified to be repeat offenders.

In another case, five doctors were booked on Saturday, for conducting illegal sex determination test in Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar district in Punjab, officials said.

Acting on a tip off, Department of Health and Family Welfare conducted a sting operation, which led to the registration of cases under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act and Rules against the five doctors of Suri Scan Centre in Balachur, an official spokesman said.

The case was registered after the doctors took a sum of Rs 20,000 from a decoy patient for illegal sex-determination, the spokesman said.

The scan centre has been sealed and its owners asked to get all records of the scan centre inspected by Sub-divisional appropriate authority (PC PNDT Act) within 48 hours.

A case has been registered against Dr Ujagar Singh Suri (owner), Dr Bhushan, Dr Sunita, Dr Sandeep and Dr Gurinder Bagga in Punjab, the spokesman said.

Civil Society responds to Maneka Gandhi on sex determination and monitoring pregnancies #Vaw



Statement from civil society groups regarding Maneka Gandhi’s proposal to record the sex of the foetus and monitor pregnancies


The undersigned ’s organizations and right to  groups across India express their deep dismay at the recent statement made by the Hon.Minister for Women and Child, Mrs Maneka Gandhi proposing that sex determination tests be conducted on pregnant women, each pregnancy put on record and then pregnancies monitored to ensure that the foetus was not aborted in case it was a female.


It is extremely distressing that a senior government official such as the Hon. Minister should make a statement in contravention of the PC-PNDT Act (1994, rev 2003) where the disclosure of the sex of the foetus is itself the prime offence. Moreover where the Act talks of strict penalties against the diagnostic facilities and practitioners who do not comply with the legal requirements, the Hon. Minister expresses reluctance to ‘keep arresting’ ultrasound owners and involved medical personnel who make profits from sex determination tests.


Civil society groups also express astonishment at such a proposal emerging from the Ministry for Women and Child which will severely curtail women’s rights to bodily autonomy and ability to access essential maternal healthcare, such as safe and legal abortion services or post-abortion care in case of miscarriages. It is possible that many women who need an ultrasound or a safe abortion for many other reasons apart from sex selection, would find themselves being denied these services.  The Hon. Minister must be aware that unsafe abortions significantly contribute to the very high maternal deathsin India, and such rules will contribute to further maternal deaths. We need to move towards greater empowerment and autonomy for all our citizens and a fulfilment of their , and not move back into an era where vigilante behaviour was encouraged and our bodies and lives were not in our control.


The groups recommend that we look deeper for reasons that compel families to opt for only male children, and consider daughters a burden. Towards addressing deep   in our society we must have in place a rights-based approach to address the issue of -biased sex selection that respects women’s rights as an individual, fulfils her rights to health and protects her decision-making about her body.

here is debate on the issue which will I’ve you a historical, medical and legal perspective on the issue


  1. National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR)
  2. Forum Against Sex  Selection (FASS)
  3. People’s health MovemenT (PHM-India)
  4. Medico-Friends circle (MFC)
  5. Public Health Resource Network
  6. Jan Swasthya Abhigyan- Mumbai
  7. Commonwealth, network
  8. Reprohealth network
  9. Association for Women with Disabilities
  10. The National Alliance of Women(NAWO
  11. Health Watch-UP
  12. Women  networking – 
  13. Northeast wOMEN NETWORK
  14. CREA
  15. Sahiyar- stree sangathana- Vadodara
  16. All India Peoples Science Network,
  17. Vasudha Mahila Manch, Bilaspur,
  18. Chhattisgarh, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti,
  19. Human Rights Law Network
  20. Jan Aarogya abhiyan- karnatak
  21.   Adhikar Samiti, Chhattisgarh,
  22. CEHAT Mumbai
  23. Akshata, Mumbai
  24. Vacha, Mumbai
  25. SNEHA
  26. JAGORI
  27. SAHELI
  28. Sruti disability center
  29. Lawyers collective
  31. SAMA, delhi
  32. Makkal Nalaazvu Iyakkam ( TamilNadu chapter).
  33. HAQ: Centre for Child Rights
  34. RUWSEC, .
  35. International Centre for Research on Women
  37. Tarun-chetna
  38. SRHR Alliance /India
  39. NEEDS
  40. FORCES
  41. Jagrit Adivasi  Sangathan, Madhya pradesh
  42. PRAYAS, Rajasthan
  43. CHARM
  45. AALI-Lucknow
  46. CHSJ
  47. SODA-Orissa
  48. Specula cell- Mumbai
  49. FORUM
  50. SEWA-
  51.  Centre for Women’s Development Studies

For First Time In 10 Years, Haryana’s Sex Ratio Crosses 900-Mark

For First Time In 10 Years, Haryana's Sex Ratio Crosses 900-Mark

Out of the 100 worst districts in India for sex ratio, Haryana accounts for 12 districts. (Representational Image)

CHANDIGARH:  For the first time in 10 years, sex ratio in Haryana has shown an upward trend, crossing the 900-mark.

“For the first time in 10 years, the sex ratio at birth for December 2015 has crossed the 900 mark with 903 girls per 1,000 boys,” Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar told media in Chandigarh.

Haryana has had the dubious record of being the worst among states in sex ratio with just 879 females per 1,000 males.

“While 12 districts have recorded sex ratio above the 900 mark in December 2015, district Sirsa tops the list with sex ratio of 999 girls per 1,000 boys,” Mr Khattar said.

“In Sirsa district, sex ratio at birth increased from 948 in October 2015, to 978 in November, and to 999 in December. A big nexus of quacks, health workers, touts and registered medical practitioners, were busted by Sirsa police with the help of the health department and about 40 people were arrested and convicted in the district,” said CM Khattar.

Out of the 100 worst districts in India for sex ratio, Haryana accounts for 12 districts.

The chief minister credited the improvement of the sex ratio to the state’s multi-pronged strategy implemented under the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the state’s Panipat town in January last year to promote the cause of the girl child.

Mr Khattar said that district Panchkula has registered a sex ratio of 961, Karnal 959, Fatehabad 952, Gurgaon 946, Sonipat 942, Jind 940, Rewari 931, Mewat 923, Bhiwani and Mahendragarh 912 and Hisar of 906.

“A target to achieve sex ratio above 950 within the next six months has now been set for the entire state,” he said.

Khattar lauded Health Minister Anil Vij, Women and Child Development Minister Kavita Jain, and all officials of health, women and child development, police, prosecution, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and public relations department for their concerted efforts during the last seven months to achieve improvement in sex ratio.

He further said that deputy commissioners led the charge in their respective districts and tough measures were taken while implementing the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, and Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.

“As many as 58 and 72 FIRs were registered under the provisions of the PCPNDT and MTP Acts, respectively, from June 2015, till date. 18 cases of sale of sex selection drugs to ensure birth of male child were registered and about 50 FIRs were lodged for illegal sale of MTP kits. Apart from this, prominent personalities like ex-MLA, Indri, Karnal, who was caught red-handed while getting a sex detection test conducted, were put behind bars,” he pointed out.

Mr Khattar said that inter-state raids were conducted successfully in bordering states Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab under these acts.

Mr Vij said that in order to end female foeticide, the state government had earlier announced a scheme to offer Rs.1 lakh as reward for reporting violations of the PCPNDT and MTP Acts. “As many as 17 such informers have so far been rewarded,” he said

One-child policy to blame for China’s skewed sex ratio

TNN | Jan 4, 2016, 03.37 AM IST


From January 1, China allowed married couples to have two children. The move comes after concerns over an aging population and shrinking workforce.From January 1, China allowed married couples to have two children. The move comes after concerns over an agin… Read More
When was the one child policy implemented in China?

By the late 1970s, China’s population was rapidly approaching the one billion mark and this worried policy makers who feared that the pressure of population on resources may impede the country’s growth.

As a result, family planning was deemed a crucial part of the country’s overall economic and social policies. The first voluntary family planning campaign started during the same period. Launched under the slogan ‘Late, long and few’, the campaign advocated delaying of marriage, having fewer children and increasing the gap between two children.

The programme had limited success and was soon replaced by the one child policy. In 1978, a family planning policy was started which encouraged couples not to have more than two children, one child being more preferable.

Later, in September 1980, the central committee of the communist party wrote an open letter to all members asking them to adhere to the one child policy. This is often considered the official start date of the programme.

Was it mandatory for every family to have one child?

Depending on the province, area of residence as well as ethnicity, there were many exemptions. China’s ethnic minorities, which constituted about 8% of its population, were exempt from the policy. Couples living in rural areas also had many exemptions.

As the policy was enforced at provincial level, enforcement varied from province to province as some had relaxed restrictions. There were other relaxations, like when both parents were only children (neither having siblings) they were allowed to have two children.

How was the policy enforced?

The policy was enforced by various measures that included aggressive campaigns, incentive to the people opting for it and penalties to those who did not comply.

The government gave various incentives and preferential treatment to couples who adhered to the policy including longer maternity leave, better health care facilities and various forms of government subsidies.

Those who did not follow it were subjected to penalties that were dubbed as their social obligation or compensation to the society for having more children.

China’s brutal one-child policy shaped how millions lived, loved and died

Beijing has finally realised that its brutal approach was a recipe for long-term penury. But, as the author of a groundbreaking book on the subject details, the legacy has embedded itself in the very mindset of a generation

Row of old Chinese men on a bench
 By the mid-2020s, China will be adding 10 million more elderly to its population each year but losing 7 million working adults. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Two years ago, I found myself massaging a complete stranger. He, in turn, rubbed my shoulders, amid the organisers’s cries to “give it a good pounding!”. He and I had been put in a group, made to chant “love slogans” and introduce ourselves in quick succession to a circle of people in avid search of marriage partners. Everything was deathly serious, and about as romantic as someone expectorating. It was a singles mixer organised by Jiayuan, one of China’s biggest matchmaking agencies, where I went to research modern dating habits. The Nasdaq-listed Jiayuan, unabashedly using the stock ticker symbol DATE, held enormously popular events, some attracting tens of thousands of participants.

My dating foray was part of a larger exploration into the effects of China’s one-child policy, the name commonly applied to the set of curbs put in place 35 years ago to slow its population growth. Though known as “one-child”, the policy was riddled with exceptions that allowed some to have more than one child, depending on your profession, where you lived and how much you were willing to pay in penalties, a system that was enormously confusing even for people within China, let alone outside.

Last week, Beijing announced a loosening of these regulations, allowing couples nationwide to have two children. But the move, done to mitigate a looming demographic crisis, will do little to avert the damaging consequences that affect the daily lives of ordinary Chinese citizens. We are used to thinking of the one-child policy in extremes. Forced abortions. Sterilisations. Infanticide. In truth, it had a stronger and more insidious impact, shaping how one-sixth of the world live, love and die. People in China debating questions such as who to marry, what jobs to choose, how to buy a place to live or how to have a comfortable old age have had the answers to these questions shaped by the policy.

A huge gender imbalance and the creation of a generation of only children – the “Little Emperors” – have vastly increased marriage anxieties. Parents with only children are hugely invested in their offspring’s life choices, especially whom they marry. And since the policy, coupled with an age-old preference for sons, has created a Canadian-sized population of surplus men – some 30 million – there are fewer brides to go around, intensifying the marriage squeeze.

More than ever since the 1949 founding of the People’s Republic, marriage has become a matter of money, valuation and investment.

The bachelor surplus has buoyed the country’s real estate market, as families with sons snap up apartments to make their offspring more desirable on the marriage market. Some economists estimate that this sex-ratio imbalance accounted for a 30-48% increase in housing prices in China between 2003 and 2009.

The phenomenon has popularised the Chinese saying, “building a nest to catch a phoenix”, and the ones best feathering their nests are estate agents. China’s soaring property prices have created a colony of mortgage slaves – fangnu – hapless people on the hook for astronomical sums similar to America’s sub-prime lending victims.

Rural practices have changed too. In 2009, I visited a central China bachelor village – a hamlet with no marriageable women. The female shortage had caused a huge rise in caili, the bride price typically offered from the groom to the woman’s family. During the Mao era of the 1970s, bride prices were typically modest – a set of clothes or perhaps a bicycle.

But starting from about 2001, the shortage of brides caused caili to rise sharply, to as much as a decade’s worth of farm income. This resulted in scams and the village I visited had just experienced a rash of runaway brides, a group of con-artists who ruthlessly met, married and made away with their bride prices, leaving the men broke, lonely and humiliated. One parent of a jilted bridegroom told me: “I wish I had daughters.”

Four years later, the shortage of women meant caili exchanges – once a quaint countryside custom – had spread to the major cities. The same year, real estate company Vanke published a map of caili rates across China. Shanghai was priciest, with brides going for $16,500 – about four times the average Chinese worker’s annual salary.

With marriage anxiety at an all-time high, companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Baidu, China’s online search and dotcom juggernaut have begun offering singles clubs as a recruiting tool. These danshen julebu not only attract workers, but reassure their parents, especially those whose only child is working far away from home. Baidu even sends an annual newsletter of its club activities to employees’ families.

The one-child policy has even affected hiring decisions: some companies explicitly advertise a preference for applicants with siblings, saying Little Emperors have been raised with such high expectations that they make poor employees. China Railway Construction Group, the country’s second largest state-owned construction enterprise, once put out a want ad stating: “Non-only children college grads from rural areas have priority”.

A human resources manager quoted in a local paper said: “We don’t hire two kinds of persons – the wealthy ones and single children.”

When China launched the one-child policy in 1980, one of the big questions was: will a generation of Little Emperors be a nation of over-indulged, spoilt children? Multiple studies have been inconclusive, but a 2012 study by Australian economists did find marked differences in the Little Emperor cohort. They were more risk-averse, less trusting and more pessimistic during a series of behavioural tests.

The idea that the Little Emperor generation is more pessimistic is perhaps least surprising to the generation themselves, many of whom label themselves as losers, a “sandwich generation”. The term kubi has become internet slang as self-mockery, used to describe a feeling of bitterness and severe pressure.

Part of the kubi attitude is due to feeling the burden of heavy expectations. A decade ago, academic Mei Zhong analysed a series of letters from only children that had been published in a book called The Only-Children Declaration. Zhong broke them into categories that revealed these children were pressured by excessive parental love and loneliness. They struggled with the burden of fulfilling their parents’ expectations – especially since many of these parents suffered under the Cultural Revolution.

Those heavy expectations on this first generation of Little Emperors will intensify as their parents age. By the mid-2020s, China will be adding 10 million more elderly to its population each year but losing 7 million working adults. The shrinking workforce will have to shoulder the burden of ageing parents, grandparents and all the financial and emotional baggage that come with this – dementia, cancer, brittle bones, broken hips – all on China’s inadequate social safety net.

This transition towards more older people and fewer young workers is happening in almost every modern society. Every major industrialised nation now lives longer and has fewer children.

This transition took almost half a century in the west and, as a result, those countries have had more time to adapt. In China, due to the artificial weight of the one-child policy, the transition will happen in just one generation and the nation is woefully unprepared.

Of all the negative repercussions of the policy, the ageing factor is the most painful, because it is definitely happening. We don’t know if China’s gender imbalance could lead to a more warlike nation. We can’t be sure if China’s cohort of Little Emperors could make for a nation of pessimistic, solipsistic low-risk takers.

While we can be fairly certain the one-child policy will be a drag on China’s economic growth – even with this latest shift to the two-child policy – we don’t know how much. We do know, however, that short of some cataclysmic plague or war, China’s vast cohort of workers will grow older: by 2050, one in every fourth person in China will be a retiree.

And who will minister to this country of the old? Little Emperors, turned Slaves. No wonder they feel kubi. Jenova Chen, a highly successful gamer named as one of the world’s top young innovators by MIT Technology Review, told me he’ll probably have only one child. “I don’t feel like I dare to have more than one child. I feel I can barely take care of my parents,” he said.

Last week’s latest move to a two-child policy is an attempt to ward off these issues and may be a prelude to the lifting of all birth restrictions.

But this is unlikely to spark the baby boom Beijing hopes for. Even though polls show many couples could two children, many say in practice it’s unaffordable and too stressful to have more than one.

In that sense, ironically, the one-child policy should be judged a huge success, for it has thoroughly changed the mindset of people in China.

Mei Fong was the China correspondent for the Wall St Journal, where she won a shared Pulitzer. Her book One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment is published in February 2016

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