Maharashtra to take ‘gandhigiri’ route to curb sex selection


Sanjeev Shivadekar, TNN Jun 13, 2012, 10.06PM IST

MUMBAI: The state government will now be trying ‘gandhigiri’ to arrest declining girl child sex ratio in Maharashtra. The state government has decided to give a letter to every rural couple who gets married, explaining why sex selection  is a sin against humanity.

Satej Patil, minister of state for rural development said, “If government has to arrest the declining child sex ratio, there is need to create awareness about girl child among couples getting married. Also besides stringent laws, there is need for more target oriented awareness on the issue” “Roping in couple getting married in the drive would help the government in dealing with the issue. Hence, the rural development department has decided to direct gram panchayat members to keep tabs on marriages happening in their areas. The member of the said gram panchayat will be asked to attend the marriage ceremony and hand over a government letter explaining the importance of a girl child in the society,” Patil added.

The move from the state government comes following the recent incidents of sex selection  found in Beed district of Marathwada region. The census reveals that Maharashtra’s child sex ratio in 2011 was 833 girls per 1000 boys as against 913 per 1,000 boys in 2001. Beed district is the worst affected, with a drop of 93 in the last decade-894 girls in 2001 as against 801 in 2011.

Further replying to a query on when will be the first letter dispatched, Patil said, “Modalities to work out the plan is on. Next week, the draft of the letter that will be handed over to the couples will be finalised and subsequently the orders for initiating the drive will be issued.”

Also the minister has asked for a crackdown on medical shops selling abortion pills without proper prescription. Patil, minister of state for food and drug administration said, “There are reports that abortion pills are freely available as medical shops are selling these drugs without prescription from appropriate authority. To curb such practices, the department has asked FDA officials to conduct special drive in the state, especially in the districts having low girl child sex ratio.”

While many are criticising the state government for its failure to handle the issue, actor Amir Khan in his letter to public health minister Suresh Shetty has appreciated efforts taken by the Maharashtra government to deal with the declining girl child sex ratio. Last month the state government had written a letter to Khan, thanking the actor for taking up the social issue—declining child sex ratio.

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