BMC to beef up vigilance in wards with dismal sex ratio

By, TNN | Feb 19, 2013,  IST

MUMBAI: Fifteen of the BMC‘s 24 wards across the city improved their sex ratio at birth in 2012 from 2011.

The B Ward of Bhendi Bazaar and Masjid Bunder recorded the highest sex ratio at birth of 996 girl children born per 1,000 boys.

Areas such as Malabar Hill came a close second; it recorded 979 deliveries of girl children per 1,000 boys in 2012, up from 915 girls in 2011. Borivli, too, registered 979 girl births in 2012, up from 914 in 2011.

These figures are based on the data compiled by the BMC, which issues birth certificates in the city.

Demographics and gender studies experts have attributed the improvement in the sex ratio to awareness drives as well as stringent regulation of maternity and sonography clinics, and sustained crackdown on illegal sex determination.

The largest dip in sex ratio, on the other hand, has been recorded in the C Ward of Bhuleshwar, Pydhonie and Sandhurst Road. The number has dropped from 981 girls per 1,000 boys in 2011 to a shockingly low 860 girls in 2012. The other areas that have witnessed a drastic dip include Kandivli. It recorded 882 births of girls per 1,000 boys in 2012 against 907 in 2011. Dahisar, too, registered a lower figure of 891 girls against 893 in 2011.

Dr Arokya Swamy, demographer at the Indian Institute of Population Studies (IIPS), said theBMC should now focus on localities that have shown a dip and strengthen their vigilance to curb female foeticide.

The BMC, on its part, has already lined up a programme for specific areas where the sex ratio is low or has fallen drastically. The civic body has asked its primary health staff to increase surveillance and immediately report any illegal activity in their areas. “We will also dissect the data so that the reason for the dip can be understood. Effective steps will be taken to improve the situation,” said a senior health officer.

Experts added the drop in certain areas could be attributed to the fact that young couples these days opt for a single child and may choose a male over a female child.

They further said that this data does not pinpoint to any trend, though, as there are cases where a mother may have delivered a female child in some ward and acquired her birth certificate from another.

“There is also a chance that the expectant mother has gone to her mother’s residence for delivery and got a birth certificate from the ward where she lives. Such cases may be few, but cannot be neglected,” said Dr Swamy.


Newborn girl found abandoned on garbage heap

Pramod Panwar, TNN Dec 1, 2012, 11.13PM IST
PALANPUR: A new born girl was found abandoned on a heap of garbage in Rampura locality of Khimat village in Banaskantha district on Saturday. Police officials said the girl had been born just a few hours before being discovered. She is being treated at the civil hospital in Palanpur.

The abandonment of the child has drawn criticism from activists working against sex selection in north Gujarat. Rashmi Hada of Mahila Kala Nidhi Trust of Kanodar said, “There seems to be no end to the practice in north Gujarat, which is infamous for its skewed sex ratio.”

Meanwhile, a gynaecologist was arrested in Mehsana on Tuesday for carrying out sex determination tests. Mehsana collector Rajkumar said Dr Bhagubhai Chaudhary was caught conducting the tests in a sting operation carried out by officials of the collectorate and health department. He had earlier been served several notices for stopping the practice. A sonography machine and Rs 1.6 lakh in cash were seized from his clinic.


178 yrs ago, British fined a Rajkot ruler 12,000 for female infanticide

Saeed Khan | TNN

Ahmedabad: Those who refuse to learn from history have to pay for it. Gujarat today reels under a skewed ratio of 886 girls per 1,000 boys. But things could have been different.
Gujarat and female infanticides go back a long way. In fact, it was 178 years ago — on November 6, 1833 — that the first penalty for female infanticide was awarded in the state when the British fined Rajkot’s ruler, Suraji Jadeja, Rs 12,000 and kept the entire Rajkot taluka attached till he paid up.
Today, cases are pending against 208 doctors for carrying out sex determination tests .
According an account ‘Suppression Of Female Infanticide in the Province Of Kattywar’ by Alexander Walker and JP Willoughby, an inquiry into the Rajkot incident was conducted by political agent captain Lang and reported to Walker, Baroda’s resident. Lang’s report said Suraji’s employees were involved in this incident. Suraji initially denied the charge, saying that the birth was premature.
However, attendants revealed before the inquiry how respiration was made impossible for the newborn by not removing placenta. Lang prescribed exemplary punishment for Suraji so that the evil practice could be curbed.
The British also made Suraji fire the staff that was involved in this incident. Suraji was warned that if another incident of female infanticide happened, it would cost him his estate.


Sunita Williams to Adopt Gujarati Girl

Bangalore: Sunita Williams was shocked to come across incidents of sex selection  in Gujarat, when she made a visit to the state few years ago. “Why should you allow the society to limit you by the virtue of your sex? Limitations are only in your mind,” she had told a group of girls in the town of Kadi. Sunita will be visiting Gujarat once again after completing her space expedition as she has decided to adopt a girl from Ahmedabad. Her sister, Dina is going through the required formalities to adopt a girl child from an organization based in Ahmedabad.

“Like her sister, Sunita too has expressed her wish to adopt a child, preferably a girl. We will start the spadework soon. She will start formalities after she returns from the expedition,” says Dinesh Rawal, her cousin.

Deepak Pandya, Sunita’s father who hails from north Gujarat told Times of India that he and Sunita discusses about the shocking incidents of female foeticide quite often. “It is up to Sunita and her husband to take a final decision. But, she has often expressed her desire to adopt a girl from Gujarat,”

Williams is currently making final preparations for a July 14 launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, according to a NASA announcement.

Surrogacy Capital Ahemdabad claims-Test-tube babies beat child sex ratio

Bharat Yagnik & Radha Sharma, TNN Jun 13, 2012,

AHMEDABAD: Girls are beating the boys, at least in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) centres of the city. Gujarat may have ranked low on the sex ratio scale in the 2011 census, but the trend is quite the reve rse for test-tube babies. The 12 IVF centres in the city have shown a heartening trend – a total of 291 girls were born against 241 boys in the last one year.

District health officer of Ahmedabad, Dr Neelam Patel, who collated this data, said, “The data shows that the birth ratio is 54:46 in favour of girls. We had conducted this survey to ascertain the sex ratio in these clinics. The trend we got from IVF clinics is a pleasant surprise and quite encouraging.”

Dr Falguni Bavishi, who runs an IVF centre in Paldi, said: “Our clinic delivered 55.6% girls and 44.4% are boys. There is no method to choose between a boy or a girl, it depends on pure chance.” Dr Manish Banker, who runs an IVF clinic at Navrangpura, said: “From January this year, we have carried out 56 IVF deliveries, which include several cases of twins. Of these, 46 are girls and 31 boys.”

 The trend seems to be same elsewhere in Gujarat. Dr Naina Patel, who runs an IVF clinic and surrogacy centre in Anand, often dubbed as the surrogacy capital of India, said: “In 2011, we got 120 girls and as many boys. Close to 40% of these were IVF deliveries.

We do get patients from north India who make specific request for boys but we have no role to play in this matter. Couples from other regions do not have any reservations.”

Hospital of horrors has beds in every corner

Sumitra Deb Roy | TNN

Mumbai: The look of the four-storeyed Munde hospital at Parli taluka in Beed may give away little about the horrors that were unfolding inside. Virtually called a den for ‘killing’ baby girls by locals, officials said the fact that the 114-bed ‘maternity’ hospital had only two cribs spoke a million words.
A recent report by civil surgeon Dr Gauri Rathod to the public health department stated how the hospital had sections, sub-sections and beds squeezed in every corner. Beed collector Sadanand Koche told TOI that as per official records, the hospital had 14 beds. But, there were beds in the corridor, under staircases and even in the tiny space between his residence and the hospital building. Police inspector Ramrao Gadekar said rooms in his residential building had cots where patients used to stay.
The report spoke about how hospital owner Dr Sudam Munde developed ways of shielding his work. In violation of the code of conduct, he had a huge stock of printed prescriptions with names of same medicines on hundreds of them. “He used codes that only he and the pharmacist would understand. Most prescriptions had names of routine drugs used for cold or fever printed on them,” said Dr Rathod.
The report highlighted how biomedical waste at the hospital used to be dumped in buckets and not plastic bags of different colours.
Parli’s locals said Munde’s hospital was known for illegal abortions. “People used to come from even neighbouring Gujarat and Karnataka,” said Rathod. Officials did not find a sonography machine at the hospital, but detected a portable machine, which he tried to hide when the police searched the place.
In 2010, he was caught in a sting operation talking  about how he performed illegal abortions. Last year, the foetus of a girl child was found in a plot owned by Munde. Soon after, 14 sonography centres were sealed. Varsha Deshpande of Lek Ladki Abhiyan said every time Munde was in the spotlight, he increased his fees for the abortions. Munde, who used to charge Rs 500, increased it to Rs 5,000. After last year’s episode, he increased it to Rs 30,000.
The Parli court issued orders for Munde to surrender before July 3 or his property will be sealed. The Beed police sent letters to over 70 doctors, radiologists and gynecologists that they would be held responsible for sex determination on their premises.

Maharahstra leads in conviction of Doctors for Sex Selection


, TNN | May 16, 2012,

NEW DELHI: Actor Aamir Khan, whose first episode of tele-show Satyamev Jayate focused on sex selection, will be happy to hear this.

In 2011, 21 clinics and 22 doctors were convicted under the Pre-Conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994, for carrying out sex selection of an unborn child.

Census, 2011, showed girl child is still a curse and unwanted. And, the girl child population has fallen to an all-time low since Independence. The sex ratio for 2011 stands at 914 girls down from 927 girls for 1,000 boys in 2001.

Maharashtra led the way in 2011, with the highest number of convicted cases against doctors at 15, followed by Haryana (7) and Madhya Pradesh (2).

Majority of the punishments included three years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1.3 lakh.

Dr Ambadas Kadam from Maharashtra was convicted on November 14, 2011, with a three-year jail term and had to cough up the highest compensation of Rs 1.3 lakh.

All the convictions in Haryana resulted in a three-year jail term, and also had to pay fines between Rs 1,000 and Rs 10,000.

The two convictions in MP resulted in imprisonment of one month and a fine of Rs 1,000. Maharashtra, however, made an example of such cases. The minimum jail term in all the convictions in the state was two years. Fines charged were Rs 70,000, Rs 60,000, Rs 52,000 and Rs 38,000 in majority of the cases.

According to Union health ministry’s figures, only around 6% of cases filed against doctors involved in sex selection practices in the 17 states with the most skewed sex ratio had ended up in convictions till March, 2011.

Altogether 805 cases had been filed in court against doctors till March 31, 2011, ever since the revised PCPNDT Act came into force. Only 55 convictions were recorded during the same period.

The rest of the cases were either still going on or dropped for “poor investigation and insufficient evidence against the accused”.

Till March, 2011, convictions were highest in Haryana (23), followed by Punjab (22), Gujarat (4), Maharashtra (3), Delhi (2) and Chandigarh (1). The highest number of cases against doctors was filed in Rajasthan (161), but none has resulted in conviction till date.

Maharashtra filed 139 cases, Punjab (112), Gujarat (82), MP (70), Delhi (61), Uttar Pradesh and Haryana (54), Andhra Pradesh (19), Bihar (10), Uttarakhand (9), Chhattisgarh (5), Jharkhand (3) and Chandigarh (2).

During the same period, 168 ultrasound machines were sealed in Gujarat, followed by Haryana (133). Maharashtra sealed 82 machines, Rajasthan (76), Odisha (68), Delhi (48), Punjab (26), UP (37), Jharkhand (13) and Andhra Pradesh (12).

“Recent meetings impressed upon states on the importance of follow up of a court case, building a strong case for prosecution, putting in place the mechanism for legal assistance and engagement with state legal services authorities, besides training workshops for judiciary and public prosecutors,” an official said.

An official added, “India’s conviction rates are shockingly low. That’s because doctors, who carry out the search and seizure operations, aren’t good at filing legal cases and presenting a full-proof investigation, helping violators go scot-free.”

The 17 states were recently told by the ministry to identify and map their worst-affected districts, blocks and even localities.

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