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)

PC-PNDT Crimes: Gynaecologist arrested in Delhi for sex determination


New Delhi: Adding to the list of violations under the PC-PNDT Act, authorities in the capital have now arrested a gynecologist and a general physician, who were caught conducting sex determination on a decoy patient during a sting operation. In a joint sting operation conducted by the Delhi and Haryana officials, a decoy patient from Faridabad was sent to Walia Maternal and Health Center in Sarita Vihar. This came after one Dr from Faridabad informed the officials about tout that was taking patients for the purpose of sex determination to some clinic in Sarita Vihar.


Authorities then setup a sting operation with a decoy customer, sending her to the tout. The tout took the decoy patient to the said Walia Medical and Health Centre in Sarita Vihar. At the centre, Ultrasound on the patient was performed by the gynecologist at the center, Dr Neelam Walia, where the patient was informed about the sex of the fetus. The authorities then reached the spot and caught (*correction) the gynecologist along with her husband, Dr KS Walia, a general practitioner. Rs 14,000 n marked currency notes were also recovered from them. The two ultrasound machines, registered with the centre have also been sealed.

Read more at Medical Dialogues: PC-PNDT Crimes: Sarita Vihar Gynaecologist arrested in Delhi for sex determination

Doctor won’t abort female foetus, files complaint against husband for sex determination, gets divorce notice

Doctor won’t abort female foetus, gets divorce notice

A well-known pathologist in the state capital has been served a divorce notice by her husband, a radiologist, because she refused to abort the female foetus that she was carrying.

Lucknow: In a unique story of violation of the PC-PNDT Act, Asian Age has recently reported the case of a known pathologist in the city of Lucknow, who has now filed a case against her husband, a radiologist, for sex determination. It has been alleged that the husband after determining the sex of the foetus , asked the wife to undergo an abortion when it became clear the it was a girl child.

The wife, Dr Prakriti Shukla, has now lodged a complaint with the state medical council and district magistrate, which is the appropriate authority for the PCPNDT Act. She has accused her in-laws of violating provisions in Pre-conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (prevention of sex selective abortions) or PCPNDT act.

The registrar, state medical council has formed a committee to investigate the complaint. According to reports, Dr Shukla married Dr Tushar Ojha in December 2014. She became pregnant in July 2015 and was forced to undergo an ultrasonography test at her father-in-law’s diagnostic centre.

“After the test, the behaviour of my in-laws and my husband changed. My husband asked me to abort the child and tried to convince me we were not in a position to have the baby. I found the behaviour strange. Next day, after the ultrasonography, my mother-in-law told me in clear terms that since it was a girl that I was carrying, I must abort it as they did not wish to have a girl in the family,”, Dr Shukla said in her complaint.

She has stated that since she feared for the life of her child, she went to her parents’ house, where she delivered a baby girl in March 2016. A month later, she received a notice for legal separation from her husband. Dr Shukla’s father-in-law, Dr S.V. Ojha, however, rubbished all charges and said, “I have been in the field of radiology for the past 34 years and there is no spot on my reputation. I do not wish to comment on this matter because I am an accused and the case is being investigated by competent authorities. But I strongly deny the charges.”

Dr Jain, registrar, state medical council, meanwhile, said, “A committee of experts has been formed to investigate the matter. The committee is competent and will give its order only after examining all aspects.”

India’s problem with the girl child

Anandiben Patel has set the wrong example for approaching the issue

Illustration: Jayachandran/Mint

Illustration: Jayachandran/Mint

It is difficult to know exactly what Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel had in mind when—speaking at a public event on Saturday—she played up the role a new woman and child hospital, provided for in the state budget, would have in “research on why, for what reason, back-to-back daughters are born”. Perhaps, her intentions can be given a charitable spin; she did speak of the unfairness of women being blamed for having daughters and allow that some families might have only sons and want a daughter. But even so, framing the issue in terms of whose “fault” a daughter’s birth is and implicitly legitimizing the quest for children of a specific sex is problematic.

Parsing every public utterance made by politicians is usually a fruitless endeavour. There is much that is tailored to the moment. Patel, however, has disregarded the sex preference that has become a pressing sociocultural, humanitarian and economic issue in India. And in also bringing up DNA testing and modification in the context of babies born with mental and physical challenges, she has ventured into an area where governments and scientists are still struggling to frame the ethical terms of the debate.

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs data for 150 countries over four decades shows that India is one of only two countries—China is the other—where female infant mortality is higher than male infant mortality in the 21st century. And when it comes to child mortality sex ratio, India is, by some distance, the worst in the world. Given the strong biological advantage that girls enjoy in early childhood, this can only be explained by “differential treatment or access to resources… putting girls at a disadvantage”, according to the report.

And these are the visible figures. Foetal sex determination and selective abortion are endemic problems nationwide. The Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT), 1994, has proved ineffective. In 2011, British medical journal Lancet estimated that up to 12 million female foetuses had been aborted in India over the previous three decades. Yet, in the majority of states, not a single case has been registered under the PCPNDT Act. Of the handful that have been charged in cities such as New Delhi, there have been no convictions.

The consequences are as predictable as they are depressing: a decline in child gender ratio from 945 girls per 1,000 boys in 1991 to 927 girls per 1,000 boys in 2011 as per census data; sociocultural upheaval in states such as Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab with particularly low ratios; destructive practices such as “buying” brides from other states; human trafficking; human rights abuses.

The rapid advances related to DNA research and genetic testing over the past quarter century have profound ethical implications in a country such as India with its tangle of economic compulsions and regressive sociocultural practices. Choosing the sex of a baby is now consumer-grade technology, if not yet in India. This, whether she intended to or not, is what Patel spoke of. The implications of such technology in a society where the girl child is still considered a liability are troubling—particularly when legislation and enforcement dealing with existing technology have been so lacking.

Nor is sex selection the only vector for ethical concerns. Prenatal genetic screening and testing for birth defects and genetic conditions such as Down’s Syndrome are useful when it comes to making an informed choice about carrying a pregnancy to term. But the more the field advances, the greater the tension between utilitarianism and traditional norms that see a utilitarian approach as harmful to a healthy society.

Will the majority of parents also choose to terminate a pregnancy where autism has been detected as they do with Down’s Syndrome, for instance? If so, what point on the spectrum would be considered a red line? For that matter, where would the line be drawn for which conditions justify termination? Who would draw it?

These are difficult—indeed, taboo—questions. And the CRISPR technique developed in 2013 that allows specific genes to be altered—Chinese scientists have announced that they had used it to edit human embryo genes—means that such questions will multiply.

Patel’s speech was a neat summary of the dangers inherent in casual disregard for such issues. Bioethics is perhaps too abstract an area to easily gain popular currency. But it is also becoming too important to be left to politicians. There must be a wider debate examining this intersection of science and Indian society.

Abortions among under-15s in Mumbai soared 144% in 3 years


| TNN | 

MUMBAI: Abortions among under-15 girls in the city have increased by 144% over the last three years, ringing alarm bells among health activists. There has also been a double-digit increase in the overall number of medical termination of pregnancies ( MTP ) in 2015-16, which the BMC has attributed to an evolved reporting system.

According to recent BMC data collated from registered MTP centres, 34,790 women underwent medical or surgical abortion in 2015-16. That is a 13% jump from 2014-15, when 30,742 abortions were reported. Intriguingly, teen pregnancy saw a sharp rise only in the under-15 category as their numbers jumped from 111 to 185 and finally 271 over the last three years. MTPs among girls aged 15-19, quite contrarily, registered a near 50% dip in 2015-16, after showing a 47% increase in the year before.

Activists called the under-15 numbers surprising. “The numbers are surprising. Despite there being an increase in sexual activity among youngsters, it alone cannot contribute to more than doubling of abortion statistics,” said A L Sharda, director of Population First, an NGO that works for gender equality. She believes that the stringent implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), where every under-18 pregnancy has to be intimated to the police, could be a reason for the sharp rise. But there is little to explain why abortions dipped in the 15-19 age group, barring an assumption that college girls could be more aware about contraception. The numbers state that only 4% of those who opted for MTP were ‘unmarried’.

The BMC numbers procured under the RTI Act by Chetan Kothari also pointed out that most pregnancies (32,725) were terminated within 12 weeks of pregnancy, again considered the safest period to avoid unnecessary health problems. But eight lives were lost due to complications arising out of abortion last year. While five of the deceased were aged 19-25, one was in the age bracket of 26-29 and two were above 30. Yet, the BMC claimed, the situation is better than it was five years ago, when 23 deaths were linked to MTP.

The BMC is certain the city’s volatile abortion graph is more of a “positive trend”. A senior civic official said there could be two reasons for the increase in registered cases. “There is an obvious increase in women accessing safe abortions through registered centres and the registration system is better,” the official added. She said the medical abortions, done by taking pills, is also being documented by doctors. The pills are supposed to be consumed under a doctor’s supervision.

Dr Nandita Palshetkar, president of Mumbai chapter of the Federation of Obstetric & Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI), said more medical abortions are being carried out in legal centres resulting in better record-keeping. “The state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made it difficult for doctors without MTP licences to procure the MTP drugs. That could be motivating many to approach registered centres,” she added.

But Palshetkar added that sex education needs to be imparted in schools to prevent pregnancy in young girls. Sharda also rued the lack of major awareness drives in society to make women aware about their abortion rights and ways to access it.The BMC is certain the city’s volatile abortion graph is more of a “positive trend”. A senior civic official said there could be two reasons for the increase in registered cases. “There is an obvious increase in women accessing safe abortions through registered centres and the registration system is better,” the official added. She said the medical abortions, done by taking pills, is also being documented by doctors. The pills are supposed to be consumed under a doctor’s supervision.

Dr Nandita Palshetkar, president of Mumbai chapter of the Federation of Obstetric & Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI), said more medical abortions are being carried out in legal centres resulting in better record-keeping. “The state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made it difficult for doctors without MTP licences to procure the MTP drugs. That could be motivating many to approach registered centres,” she added.

Top Comment

Two stray points – [1] technically 35000 cases of rApe practically 100 per day [2] 35000 got pregnant , what about those who di not become pregnat ?/ 930 Despite sex education drive – which in prac… Read MoreDrparas Jain

But Palshetkar added that sex education needs to be imparted in schools to prevent pregnancy in young girls. Sharda also rued the lack of major awareness drives in society to make women aware about their abortion rights and ways to access it.

Maharashtra brings veterinary doctors under PCPNDT Act

The state government has moved to block another illegal avenue increasingly being used by expectant parents to determine their unborn child’s sex.

It has now made it mandatory for all veterinary doctors and hospitals to register their ultrasound sonography machines with municipal officials or the district health department and provide details of every test conducted on the equipment. Vets will also have to display a board declaring “We do not conduct sex determination tests“ at their clinics. Similar rules are already in place for radiologists under the PreConception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT), 1994. But until now, vets didn’t face much scrutiny over misuse of ultrasound machines.

The new measure, announced in a government resolution on May 13, follows growing complaints from activists that families, especially in rural areas, are paying animal doctors to conduct such tests, which are banned as part of efforts to prevent female foeticide.

State public health minister Deepak Sawant was not available for comment.

His predecessor in the previous Congress-NCP government, Suresh Shetty, said cases of vets and para-medical staff conducting sex determination tests at expectant parents’ request were brought to notice during his ten ure. “We had then proposed that all medical professionals and establishments that have sonography machines should be brought under the ambit of the PCPNDT Act,“ he said.

“The latest crackdown will help curb such cases, including those where portable machines meant for conducting examinations on animals are used for pre-natal tests.“

Advocate Varsha Desphande of NGO Lek Ladki Abhiyan welcomed the Devendra Fadnavis government’s decision to bring vets under the PCPNDT Act. “We had been demanding the measure since 2014 when our sting operation exposed a Satara veterinary doctor who had been charging Rs 10,000 for every sex determination test,“ she said.

Animal right activists Anand Siva said vets had already started displaying warnings against pre-natal tests at their clinics.

In 2014, 288 doctors across the state were booked on charges of violating the stringent law.Conviction was secured in 116 cases and licences of 53 medical professionals were suspended.

According to latest figures, there are 933 girls per 1,000 boys in the state, a child sex ratio that has improved drastically since 2011.

Mumbai- Child sex ratio dips in Bandra, Khar and Santacruz (East)

sexratio Although City’s child sex ratio of 933  is at all-time high 5, with 933 girls born per 1,000 boys, significantly ahead of the national average of 918. But several wards of the city bucked the progressive trend to register a worrying gap.


As per recently released BMC data, 11of 24 wards registered a dip in the ratio, indicative of a strong bias towards the male child, compared with 2014. Cutting across socio-economic classes, the skewed ratio is visible right from the posh neighbourhoods of Colaba, Nariman Point and Fort to the slum pockets of Govandi, Mankhurd and Bandra (East). It includes even the prosperous belts of Borivli and Magathane.

Despite dwindling childbirths due to a demographic shift over the years, the sex ratio in the island city (943) is better than the western (932) and eastern suburbs (927).

Ward C (Bhuleshwar, Pydhonie, Marine Lines and Dhobi Talao) once again recorded the lowest ratio, at 837. It is the only ward where less than 900 girls were born for 1,000 boys.The BMC has cited significantly fewer deliveries in the area–1,242 in 2015 compared to 7,000-15,000 in other wards–as the primary reason. For the remaining 10 poor performing wards, there is hardly any reasonable explanation.

The sex ratio dip at  Bandra, Khar and Santacruz (East) is particularly alarming. It plunged from 949 in 2014 to 903 last year. Areas like Deonar, Anushakti Nagar, Govandi and Mankhurd, too, showed a decrease from 935 in 2014 to 909 in 2015. “The decline is not justifiable in several pockets of the city and we will be looking into the reasons. Our previous trends indicate that sex selection is not that common among slum dwellers. For certain areas in south Mumbai like ward A, a population shift to the suburbs is mainly to blame,“ said Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer at BMC.

A 2011study on `Sex ratio at birth in suburban slums of Mumbai’ shows the BMC’s observation is off the mark. The paper by Holy Family Hospital’s Ancilla Tragler, a paediatrician and community health consultant, had not only found a strong preference for male child in four suburban slums, but also that sex selective abortions were rampant. “ A history of abortion was reported among 28% of the 304 families that were interviewed.Around 79% were induced abortions, of which 52% were purely to prevent the birth of a girl child,“ Tragler told TOI.She said it was shocking how poor families with limited means were ready to spend on abortion in private hospitals.The study also found that the preference for the male child was prevalent across communities and religious groups.

Health activists think poor implementation of the PreConception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act is directly responsible for the imbalance in certain wards. “The task force that cracks down on illicit clinics and doctors in the city have not met for the last two years.There are no drives or surprise checks on sonography centres or clinics,“ said Varsha Deshpande of the NGO Lek Ladki Abhiyan. She said there is a glaring lack of political will to tackle the issue of `missing girls’.

According to social experts, a few other reasons, be sides female foeticide, could be leading to the decline in sex ratio. “There are families where the fertility behaviour is aimed at having at least one male child. They follow the `stopping rule behaviour’, which means that the family stops planning once they have a child of their gender preference. While it may not affect the sex ratio at birth, it definitely makes a dent later,“ said P Arokiasamy of the International Institute of Population Science (IIPS).

Keskar insisted that all was not gloomy about the city’s sex ratio, as certain areas have shown incredible change. Worli, Lower Parel, Prabhadevi and Mahalaxmi scored a near perfect ratio of 991 in 2015, a commendable increase from 968 in 2014. Even Dongri has shown a jump from 926 in 2014 to 974 last year.sexratio

Delhi-NCR- Authorities Unearth Sex Determination Racket

Delhi-NCR- Authorities Unearth Sex Determination Racket

The District Authorities have unearthered a sex determination racket and arrested eight people under the relevant sections of the PC-PNDT act. The said racket, which was operating across Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan as well as Uttar Pradesh included the gang members, gathering patients from different parts of these states and taking them to a clinic in Ghazaibad for the purpose of sex determination.

The sting operation began when the Gurgaon and Rewari officials received a tip about the same. A team of seven officials began their operation by making a decoy customer call up on the mobile that was allegedly used for the purpose and asking for an appointment. The decoy offered Rs 20,000 to the agents and on 5th of May, 2016 was taken by the members of the gang to a small private clinic in Sahibabad.

The authorities then raided the said clinic and arrested the doctors and health workers involved. During the raid they found that the machine that was used for the purpose of sex determination, was actually registered in the name of another doctor, who was not involved in the racket

“The gang never used original names of their customers, instead they used codes to identify them. Also, they never allowed customers to visit clinics in their vehicles. They used own vehicles to take patients to the Sahibabad clinic,” an official, who is part of the investigation, requesting anonymity informed the TOI.

While the officials were ready to expose the racket to the public on Sunday itself, they cancelled the organized press conference as the authorities felt that more people may have been a part of the racket, as reported by TOI.

Previous Older Entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,527 other followers

%d bloggers like this: