Health ministry to soon come out with draft SOPs as part of PCPNDT Rules

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai

The Union health ministry will soon come out with a set of new draft Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as a part of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Rules as a step towards making it more compliant and less stringent in the wake of nation-wide protests from radiologists a couple of months back.

The new draft SOPs is likely to be shared with the concerned stakeholders soon to make it more practical and acceptable to the radiologists, according to an official associated with the development.

Meanwhile, the Union health ministry is also planning to amend PCPNDT Rules to keep record-keeping out of the ambit of criminal provisions of the Act following recent representations made by the radiologists.

A committee under the Union health ministry has been constituted to recommend separate provisions for record- keeping and actual sex selection under the Act. The ministry is scheduled to make changes in the rules soon, according to a senior official associated with the development.

Accordingly, the committee is likely to lay down guidelines for a 3-tier categorization of offences based on the severity or seriousness of the violation to make it more practical for serving the desired purpose for which it was framed.

Government’s delay to modify PCPNDT Act led to harassment of radiologists by the authorities for minor administrative lapses and not actual sex selection in violation of the Act. Radiologists explain that the violation of the said Act amounts to equal punishment for sex determination and clerical errors.

Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) had in the past held meetings with the Union health minister J P Nadda and proposed to change the PCPNDT Rules with reference to record keeping to prevent harsh penalties for clerical errors.

Maharashtra State Branch Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (MSBIRIA) had three months ago suspended its services citing wrong implementation of PCPNDT Act by the authorities leading to closure of sonography clinics and prosecution of radiologists as they say that the rules are often misinterpreted.


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