Save the girl child: PMC nod to fixed deposit scheme

Express news service : Pune, Sat Jul 13 2013,

To check sex selection,  the women and child welfare committee of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Friday approved a proposal seeking financial assistance to every girl child born in a poor family under the civic jurisdiction from April this year.As per the proposal, the civic body would make a fixed deposit of Rs 30,000 in the name of the girl child born in a family having income less than Rs 1 lakh. The girl can withdraw the money which will amount to Rs 2.4 lakh after interest, when she is 18 and provided she is unmarried.

The civic body will contribute Rs 20,000 while the parents will have to give Rs 10,000 to avail the scheme. The scheme would be eligible for citizens under the civic jurisdiction and up to two child per family.

“The committee will also contribute Rs 40,000 for a girl child if her parents decide to have only one child. In such cases, the parents need not contribute Rs 10,000 to avail the scheme,” said Varsha Marathe, chairperson of women and child welfare committee.

As many as 50,000 births take place every year in PMC. There are 938 female births for every 1,000 male births. This means 24,200 female births a year take place in the city.

If the civic body decides to include all of them in the scheme then the civic body would need a whopping Rs 48.27 crore. The scheme has a provision of merely Rs 5 crore and can be availed by beneficiaries who fulfill the criteria.

Civic body proposes to double scholarship of sportsmen

The PMC administration has proposed to double the scholarship given to sportsmen representing at district, state, national and international level. After the sports policy was approved last year, the civic body had made provision of Rs 25,000 for sportsmen from city representing at national and international level and Rs 15,000 for sportsmen representing the district.

PMC mounts vigil to keep monsoon diseases at bay

With the city having buckled under a volley of diseases during the last monsoon, particularly dengue, the civic authorities this year are mounting vigilance in advance to keep monsoon-related diseases at bay. Though swine flu claimed several lives, dengue and malaria attacked people with twin viral.

According to Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) monthly communicable disease report, 148 dengue cases, including five deaths, have been reported since January this year. Around 15 cases were reported in May and 36 in June, the report said.

As many as 66 cases of malaria and 184 cases of swine flu have been reported since January. While majority of swine flu cases were reported in February (44), March (64) and April (45), there were only two case in June. Around 98 snake bite cases have been registered since January, with 19 in June.

As per the PMC records, cases of viral hepatitis are on the rise, with a total of 682 cases reported since January. June alone reported 89 such cases.

In Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), officials said there were 47 cases of malaria since January.

The sentinnel surveillance centre set up by the PCMC to test dengue cases registered only two cases



J&K: Man kills 4-year-old daughter to get government compensation #Vaw #WTFnews

CNN-IBN | Updated Jun 30, 2013

SrinagarIn a shocking incident in Kashmir, a man allegedly choked and slit the throat of his 4-year-old daughter, in order to get government compensation. The accused Altaf Ahmad from Rafiabad has been arrested.

Police are saying his main motive was to claim she was killed by militants and seek compensation from the government. Altaf’s wife is the village sarpanch and he was hoping the police would believe his story considering the recent militant attacks on sarpanches and their families. On the day of the incident, Altaf allegedly sent his wife and son to the doctor and in their absence murdered the young girl.

“We believe that the motive could have been that his wife is the village sarpanch. He might have tried to pass the murder off as a militant act to claim compensation from the government,” DIG north Kashmir JP Singh said.


Nashik – Relatives stomp on Pregnant woman leading to abortion

Press Trust of India | Updated: April 16, 2013 15:18 IST

Nashik, MaharashtraIn-laws of 20-year-old pregnant woman here have been charged with murdering an unborn girl child after they allegedly stomped on her stomach and beat her, killing the two-month-old foetus, police said today.
The incident took place in the Mhasrul locality where victim Suvarna Gaikwad was being harassed mentally and physically for dowry since her marriage to Khanderao Gaikwad in June last year, they said.The young woman was being tortured to bring a dowry of Rs. 1.5 lakh for building a house. Later, when her in-laws came to know that she was pregnant, they took her to a ‘godman’ Shyambaba Shinde at Niphad, who told them that she was carrying a girl, police said.Suvarna was told to abort the girl child but when she refused to do so, she was allegedly roughed up by her husband, and family, including the mother-in-law killing the foetus on April 4.The matter was brought to light by Mahendra Datrange, President of Nashik unit of Blindfaith Eradicating organisation following which the husband, his brother Vijay Gaikwad, maternal father-in-law Dilip Suryavanshi and one of his kins Jalinder Suryavanshi was arrested yesterday, police said.

Offences have been registered against them under different sections of IPC at panchavati police station yesterday, police said.

Suvarna’s family, which alleged murder of the girl, is demanding the arrest of her mother-in-law Bibabai, Shinde and others involved in the killing

Sex discrimination in India begins in the womb: Study

PTI | Mar 28, 2013, 12.49 PM IST

A study suggests sex discrimination begins in the womb in male-dominated societies such as India.
WASHINGTON: Women in India are more likely to get prenatal care when pregnant withmale babies, according to a groundbreaking study that has implications for girls’ health and survival in patriarchal societies.

The study by Leah Lakdawala of Michigan State University and Prashant Bharadwaj of the University of California, San Diego, suggests sex discrimination begins in the womb in male-dominated societies such as India.

“It paints a pretty dire picture of what’s happening,” said Lakdawala, MSU assistant professor of economics.

In India, while it’s illegal for a doctor to reveal the sex of an unborn baby or for a woman to have an abortion based on the baby’s sex, both practises are common, Lakdawala said.

However, knowing the sex of the baby through an ultrasound also can lead to discrimination for those pregnancies that go full-term, she said in a statement.

In studying the national health-survey data of more than 30,000 Indians, the researchers found that women pregnant with boys were more likely to go to prenatal medical appointments, take iron supplements, deliver the baby in a health-care facility – as opposed to in the home – and receive tetanus shots.

Tetanus is the leading cause of neonatal deaths in India. According to the study, children whose mothers had not received a tetanus vaccination were more likely to be born underweight or die shortly after birth.

The researchers – the first to study sex discrimination in prenatal care – also looked at smaller data sets from other countries.

In other patriarchal nations of China, Bangladesh and Pakistan, evidence of sex-discrimination in the womb existed. But in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Ghana – which are not considered male-dominated – no such evidence existed.

“This type of discrimination we’re seeing, while not as severe as sex-selective abortion, is very important for children’s health and well-being,” Lakdawala said.

Given that previous research has linked early childhood health to later outcomes, sex discrimination in prenatal care might also have long-term effects.

“We know that children born at higher birth weights go to school for longer periods and have higher wages as adults, so the future implications here are pretty serious,” Lakdawala said.

The study appears in the Journal of Human Resources.


India: Money Is Plenty But Girls Are Scarce in Haryana

Published February 21, 2013


The highway to Mewat, a district in the Indian state of Haryana, is smooth and plastered with roadkill. Dogs, mostly, at least one flattened carcass every mile. Behind us is Gurgaon, a newly erected city of almost a million, where multi-nationals have found a home in glitzy high-rise buildings but no supply of running water (it’s brought in with trucks from Delhi).

Ahead of us is farmland dotted with property developments. Oxcarts next to SUVs, veiled women evading the gaze of my camera, men smoking gigantic hookahs while punching their smartphones.

This is Haryana, where villages flush with money are ruled by councils that command honor killings and where 14 is a suitable age to marry when you are a girl. That is, of course, if you were lucky enough to be born.

Because Haryana also has one of the most skewed sex ratios in India: the recent 2011 census counted 830 girls born for every 1,000 boys. In other words: tens of thousands of baby girls are aborted every year because families here (as in much of the rest of India) strongly prefer boys.

“There are many reasons for this,” says Shafiq ur Rahman Khan, an activist who heads an NGO called Empower People and who has come with us to Haryana. It’s the son who inherits the wealth of a family; it’s the husband’s parents who are looked after in old age by the bride (not her own parents). And there is the dowry system, where huge sums have to be paid by the bride’s family to the future husband.

A case in point is the pile of fridges and air conditioners, flat-screen TVs, sofas and armchairs in the hallway of the building where Empower People have their Mewat office: excess dowry belonging to the recently married landlord that he could not fit into his new home.

We have come here to look at the social consequences of the skewed sex ratio: what does it mean for a society if it lacks a significant amount of women? Shafiq has been working in the area since 2006 and has established contacts with many villages in the region. He believes that the disregard for the rights of women is at the root of many problems that plague the region, from sexual violence to bride trafficking and child marriages.

Through Shafiq and his local co-workers we hope to get access to some of these villages. It won’t be an easy task, especially after the Delhi rape case that awoke a whole nation to the widespread problem of violence against women. But Shafiq is confident that through his network we will be able to speak to some women about their situation.


#India-Allow abortions up to 24 weeks, national women’s panel says

TNN | Feb 3, 2013, 04.33 AM IST

Allow abortions up to 24 weeks, national women's panel says
NCW says no couple will wait till 20 weeks of pregnancy to abort a foetus on the basis of gender as such offenders wait for barely 12 weeks or so to seek abortion on the grounds that contraception had failed.
MUMBAIThe National Commission forWomen (NCW) has advised the Union health ministry to push the time limit for abortions from 20 weeks of pregnancy to 24.”The ministry had asked us to review the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, and send our recommendation if any. We sent them the proposal last month,” NCW member Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar said.

The recommendation on the NCW website says, “Keeping in view of the present scientific development in medical diagnostic technologies as well as social scenario, laws/statutes need to be revamped”.

While some experts feel extending the abortion time limit will be abused to commit female foeticide, NCW members are sure it will not. “No couple will wait till 20 weeks of pregnancy to abort a foetus on the basis of gender. Such offenders wait for barely 12 weeks or so to seek abortion on the grounds that contraception had failed,” Samant-Prabhavalkar said.

The NCW draft note goes on to say that a new situation demands new laws. “A woman may be raped or a minor may have become pregnant or a woman from a depressed class violated, a woman/girl deserted by partner who had promised to marry her — the present law does not address these special circumstances, hence the NCW feels it necessary to review Section 3- 5 of the MTP Act,1971,” the note adds.

Tweak law

Accordingly, the NCW wants that Section 3(2)(b) of the MTP Act to be tweaked to read, “where the length of the pregnancy exceeds 12 weeks but does not exceed 24 weeks”.

Incidentally, this was the lone recommendation the NCW made to the government.

Experts say the extended time limit will help couples with malformed foetuses to take a call. “Most cardiac anomalies can only be detected after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Thereafter, the parents need time to talk it out with family and friends. So a 24-week limit seems fair,” said Dr Nikhil Datar, who had supported his patient Niketa Mehta to move the court in 2008 for abortion after a cardiac defect was detected in the foetus in the 24th week of gestation. The plea was turned down by the court, but she miscarried thereafter. The foetus reportedly had severe heart problems.

In brief:

* On August 4, 2008, the Bombay high court dismissed Niketa Mehta’s plea for abortion as the foetus had a congenital heart problem. The defect was detected in the 24th week

* The bench said the court could just interpret the law and not make the law

* The Centre is reviewing the MTP Act

* The NCW studied MTP laws in the US and the UK and consulted doctors before recommending that 3(2)(b) of the MTP Act should be changed to allow abortions up to 24 weeks


South-West Delhi survey highlights people’s open preference for male child


Two girl children in a Shishu Vihar orphanage. File Photo: Mohd. Arif

The HinduTwo girl children in a Shishu Vihar orphanage. File Photo: Mohd. Arif

“Sons preferred for retaining property; maintaining a daughter’s chastity found difficult”

Respect parents’ right to choose the sex of their child and legalise sex determination in the country was one of the responses to a social audit conducted in the Capital’s South-West district to understand the growing phenomenon of female foeticide in these parts. The audit, conducted by the Centre for Social Research (CSR), has also revealed that people are quite open about their preference for boys and justified it by saying that a son is essential for maintenance and retention of property while daughters will have to be married off.

South-West Delhi, which includes places such as Vasant Vihar, Vasant Kunj, Dwarka and Najafgarh, was chosen because it has the worst sex ratio in the Capital (836 women for every 1000 men), said CSR Head, Research and Knowledge, Manasi Mishra. “In my experience of working in Delhi and Haryana, maintaining female chastity is cited as a major reason as a preference for boys,” she said, apart from reasons such as payment of dowry, preserving familial legacy and share in property.

The audit further revealed that community members in posh localities believed that sex selection is practised by economically backward strata of society and according to them the “educated class does not hold son preference as a dominant ideology”. Among the more appalling findings are non-participation of non-government organisations in engaging in advocacy efforts regarding the issue and residents’ welfare association meetings not addressing the issue on a regular basis since it is “considered a very personal and private affair”.

Respondents were also not aware of the Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act and its implementation. “While the general attitude may be not to reveal the acquaintances with sex selection cases, since it is known to be illegal, it is still not seen as a ‘crime’,” said Ms. Mishra.

The audit covered 100 stakeholders such as Aanganwadi workers, ASHA workers, doctors and nurses who are “part of the issue” and 900 households in the South West district.

With people crossing over from the South-West district to adjoining districts such as Jhajjar and Bahadurgarh to determine the sex of the child, there should be a provision under the PC-PNDT Act to permit the District Appropriate Authority to raid adjoining districts, said District Magistrate Vikas Anand. He also highlighted the abysmal conviction rates against clinics and those involved in this practice.

“Among the institutional challenges is the lack of dedicated manpower at the district level, insensitivity of the police towards crime against women and sex selective abortion not being a priority for the system” he said. “However, among some of the efforts to curb this practice is during marriage registrations obtaining an oath from newly wed couples that they will not go for sex determination of their child.”


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