Man detained after live-in partner alleges rape


HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 09, 2013

A 25-year-old pregnant woman on Wednesday lodged a case against her live-in partner, accusing him of raping her and then forcing her to undergo an abortion.

 

The matter was reported at the west Delhi’s Madipur police station with the police identifying the accused as one Rajesh, who works in a private company.

According to a police officer, Rajesh has been detained and was being questioned in connection with the allegations leveled against him by the woman, who is seven months pregnant. The couple was in a live-in relationship for the past three years, he said.

 

Investigation into the case revealed that the woman met Rajesh three years ago and became friends.

They started liking each other and fell in love after which they decided to live together at Rajesh’s house.

“The woman has alleged that Rajesh established physical relationship with her by promising to marry her. Seven months ago, the woman became pregnant and she began pressuring Rajesh for marriage. But Rajesh tried to put off the issue by giving her false assurances,” said the police officer.

A few weeks ago, the officer said, Rajesh asked her to abort the child after the couple had an argument. The arguments continued for several days but on Tuesday, when the victim sensed that Rajesh won’t marry her, she made a call to the police.

 

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#India – Time limit of abortions raised to nine weeks #MTP


New Delhi |April  26 Friday, 2013 5:36:05 PM IST

The time limit for abortions has been increased from seven to nine weeks to facilitate family planning, the Drug Controller General of India has said.

Nozer Sherian, secretary general of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies (FOGSI), said here Friday: “The Drug Controller General has increased the time limit of abortions to 63 days, that is nine weeks.”

In the last two years, 332,000 medical abortions were carried out, which show that if given a choice, women want to limit their families.

“This is very important as around eight percent of maternal deaths take place due to unsafe abortions,” he said.

FOGSI is promoting medical abortions along with Interuterine Medical Devices (IUD) to help people plan their families.

Hema Diwakar, president of FOGSI, said that women are now given a choice of post-placental IUD as soon as they give birth.

The family planning initiative taken up by the FOGSI and the Population Services International (PSI) is called ‘Pehel’. It is run mostly in urban slums.

It covers 30 districts in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Ten additional districts in these three states would be covered in the next phase.

“Pehel Phase 3 will continue to complement the government’s efforts to reduce maternal mortality and increase the contraceptive prevalence rate,” said Pritpal Marjara, director of PSI.

According to government data, every year about 78,000 women die during pregnancy, child birth or within 43 days of delivery in India.

Indo-Asian News Service spc/rt/tb

#India – Laadli Scheme of Government a Flop Show


42% girls dropped from Laadli scheme over 2 years

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

New Delhi: The government’s show of solidarity with women wears thin after the CAG audit of the Ladli scheme. Many of the Ladli beneficiaries were automatically dropped from the scheme after their policies were not renewed. The policy needs to be renewed at every milestone in a girl’s education to be able to receive the funds. The audit, however, found that only 73,108 — 58.11% — cases were renewed out of 1,25,808 between 2010-11 and 2011-12. In the absence of proper monitoring, the scheme failed to support 42% of the beneficiaries who had enrolled for the scheme after birth but did not renew it.
Discrepancies were found in the use of funds as well. In 2010-11, a staggering Rs 110 crore was allotted for the scheme but only Rs 89 crore was spent. The selection of SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd (SBIL) as the fund managing agency has also raised eyebrows. CAG has observed that the women and child development department did not explore other options like LIC for maximum return on investments. SBIL gave only 6.5% and 7% interest during 2008-09 and 2009-10, which is around two-third of the projected rate of interest at 10.5%.
CAG’s survey of some girls’ only and co-educational schools in the city found that the beneficiaries dropped from 27.17% in 2009-10 to 20.92% in 2010-11 and to 18.30% in 2011-12.
BADLY-MANAGED SCHEME 
Audit revealed that
51,835 cases
matured in 2009-12 

The Ladli scheme was launched by the department without any data on intended benefi ciaries, without fi xing an annual target, financial or physical
The decision to opt for SBIL as the fund managing agency for the scheme led to a loss of interest of 1% to 2.5% to the benefi ciaries

 

NHRC still awaiting States’ report on pre-natal sex selection


NEW DELHI, October 25, 2012

STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu

Recognising pre-natal sex selection as an unacceptable form of gender discrimination, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had asked key States across the country to submit a report on implementation of the Pre-conception & Pre-natal Diagnostics Techniques (PCPNDT) Regulations and Prevention of Misuse Act (Amendments in 2004) based on a set of recommendations issued by the NHRC. A reporting format was also sent to all stakeholders.

But over a year after the exercise was undertaken, the NHRC has now been forced to issue reminders stating that “required information and action taken information is still awaited from various States and Union Territories”.

The NHRC had undertaken a research project titled “Research and Review to strengthen PCPNDT (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act’s implementation across key States”. The main objective of the study was to identify impediments in implementation of the Act in the States. The Commission had considered the report and directed that the report be sent to Central/State governments for action on its recommendations.

An NHRC letter dated September 14, 2011, noted that it had sent a copy of the national report to State governments for taking necessary action and keeping the Commission informed. “We have not received any response from the States and have now issued instructions so that the action taken report on the recommendations contained in the national report in the specified format in consolidated form for the entire State/ Union Territories is sent to NHRC at the earliest,” noted an NHRC letter dated October 9.

The highlights of the recommendation include ensuring effective implementation of the Act related activities, organising workshops/meetings for proper record maintenance of clinics and courts, encouraging authorities to undertake decoy operations and train them to execute the operations, creating special cell consisting of magistrate and lawyers who are well conversant with the Act and looking into bringing in harsher penalties as deterrent punishment commensurate with the nature of the crime.

 

Balancing the Gender Skew in India: A New Name, A New Beginning?


Indian girls, shedding names like “Nakusa” or “Nakushi” which mean “unwanted” in Hindi, hold up their name change certificates during a ceremony in Satara, 250 kms from Mumbai,

by Neeta Lal
In an innovative bid to fight gender discrimination, Satara district in India’s western state of Maharashtra recently witnessed a minor revolution. Over 285 Indian girls named Nakhushi, ‘unwanted’ in Hindi, by their disenchanted parents were rechristened in a state-organized ceremony.

Trussed up in their Sunday best, the girls were all smiles amidst the pop of camera bulbs. “My friends will be calling me with my new name now. And that makes me very happy. My earlier name made me feel worthless,” 15-year-old Nakhushi, now renamed Muskaan or ‘a smile’, says into the TV camera.

• “Usual labour” Maharashtra, India. Photograph by Flickr user nvbr11 and used under a Creative Commons license. •
But will changing girls names combat their internalized sense of worthlessness and improve the status of women and girls in India?

India has never been a happy place for women. The World Economic Forum’s latest Gender Inequality Index (GII) places the country at 129 out of 146 countries, better only than Afghanistan in South Asia.

Gender bias in Indian society is blatant. Apart from the extreme practices of feticide, infanticide and honor killings, discrimination against Indian girls persists through parental prejudices, lack of educational opportunities, and unfair resource allocation.

The discrimination against the girl child manifests itself everywhere – even in educated, well-off households. A few years back I was shocked when one of my colleagues, a well-qualified woman in her thirties with two daughters, confided in me that she “got her baby dropped” when she found out it was a girl. “I’ll keep getting pregnant until I have a boy. The baby will be born only once it’s confirmed that it’s a male,” she told me with finality.

Was she being coerced into this situation I asked her, concerned about the ease with which she narrated the episode to me. “Yes,” she replied. “My husband hinted that my mom-in-law is keen her son remarry if we can’t have a male heir.”

In the mid-1960s, sex-determination technology was introduced in India as a population control measure. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen famously wrote in 1990 of the 100 million missing women, especially in Asia, and of how these numbers “tell us, quietly, a terrible story of inequality and neglect leading to excess mortality of women.”

The Prenatal Diagnostics Techniques (regulation and prevention of misuse) Act was enacted in 1994 and brought into operation in 1996. After over two decades, it seems little has changed. India’s latest Census figures reveal that the country’s male-female ratio is the worst since 1961 — just 914 girls for every 1,000 boys. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 102 to 106 boys should be born for every 100 girl children.

In Satara this equation is a grim 881 to 1,000 boys. For the northern state of Haryana, notorious for crimes against women, including honor killings, the picture is especially bleak – in Duleypur village, the sex ratio at birth is 400 females per 1,000 males.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that every day 7,000 fewer girls are born in India than should be. So where does the problem lie? According to a UNFPA population report released in October, an overwhelming majority of the 117 million ‘missing’ girls in Asia are from India and China. They are vanishing primarily due to the increased use of ultrasonography or ultrasound machines.

The moment the UN report came out radiologists in Mumbai were up in arms. “Ultrasound has been around for decades. If it’s such a widely used tool for sex determination then girls should have disappeared in larger numbers by now,” Indian Radiological & Imaging Association president Dr Jignesh Thakker told one Indian daily. The city’s radiologists are already fighting a bitter battle against the Maharashtra government’s recent directive that forbids the use of portable ultrasound machines for sex determination purposes.

Not that the national capital city of New Delhi fares any better. Mara Hvistendahl, the author of Unnatural Selection writes how it is a standard practice for doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences – a premier state-run hospital – to disclose the sex of the fetus to the moms-to-be and even help them abort it if they so desire.

“We need to amplify our voices about sonography’s misuse so that public opinion can be built up and stringent action is taken against the wrong doers,” says Pramila Kirk, an NGO worker. Kirk advises that if the state government makes software to keep track of all scans mandatory for ultrasound machines, it will dramatically augment the child-sex ratio.

Some doctors believe, however, that instead of spending about USD800 per machine on installing silent observer software, the sum should be invested in pro girl child policies. Experts add that the argument that prenatal diagnostic tests give women a ‘choice’ to select a child of the desired sex is specious. Women’s choices, especially in India’s patriarchal society, are determined by societal pressure to produce male heirs.

This means that four decades after the passage of the landmark Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act that legalized abortion in India, the legislation is being exploited to kill unborn daughters. The Lancet estimates that between three and six million girls have been aborted over the past decade. Sex selective abortion happens because sex determination tests have become a breeze. Woman simply walk into a shop and get the needed test done.

India’s Planning Commission, the country’s premier body that formulates policy, recently relaxed the ban on sex-selection tests in rural areas. At the same time, it is also in the midst of proposing a program to ‘adopt’ female fetuses and give incentives to families and health workers to deliver female babies.

People suspect there are other interests behind the Commission’s new proposal. According to human rights activist and lawyer Pramod Kamayani, “female feticide is organized murder. Parents do it because they want to get rid of daughters; the doctors do it for a quick buck and the government looks upon it as an effective and free population control method. With such a well-entrenched nexus in place, how can the situation be improved?”

Perhaps things can be improved by implementing imaginative public policies to set right the gender skew. Already, some state government schemes are providing incentives for parents to embrace girl children and make for more balanced birth rates. Measures like providing bicycles for school-going girls have proved to be efficacious in empowering the girl child.

While giving hundreds of nakhushis a new name is laudable, real transformation will come about only if, along with the name change, mindsets are changed too. Maharashtra is planning to reward couples whose third child is a girl by sponsoring her education and bestowing other financial rewards upon her. Hopefully this will truly lead to a new beginning.

NRIs returning to India for sex selection : UK MP


A UK based charity has evidence to prove an increase in NRIs travelling to India for pre-natal sex determination and incidences of “abortions” using Indian clinical facilities even as its study report is likely to be released next month, revealed UK MP Virendra Sharma on his recent visit to  India

Sharma, accompanied by NRI Sabha, Punjab president Kamaljeet Hayre, said that during a study conducted by a UK Charity – “Jeena” (allow me to live)– in Punjab, a section of Indian families settled in UK, Canada, US and Australia were found returning back to their motherland for using Indian clinical facilities for sex determination.

The next step is to ensure expectant women should abort the baby in case it is a girl foetus, he revealed. The charity had collected enough evidences to prove increase in such incidences of SEX SELECTION  involving NRI families, Sharma said, adding that the matter was of serious concern for the society in India and abroad.

“The study report will be released in UK  in March 2012  even as the same will also be simultaneously made available in India for identifying the grey areas and to work out solutions at society and government levels,” he said.

Though sex determination was banned in foreign countries, the NRIs preferred to abuse Indian legal system by indulging into such illegal practices. “It’s an open secret that a section of clinical facilities in India are open to such practices for obvious reasons. This leads to skewing sex ratio,” he added.

Experts said that the problem among Indians worldwide is less one of discrimination against the girls than the desire to have at least one boy, as studies show, parents did not abort their first born child even if they knew it was a girl. But if a family is going to have only two children and they already had a girl, then they will try the second child should be a boy.

On solutions, Sharma suggested there was need to have embassy level coordination and understanding on Indian cultural issues so as to check such practices. “The British High Commission in New Delhi should be engaged with Indian High Commission in London to understand and solve such issues. There is need for a social engineering through engagement of community leaders with government functionaries whether in India or abroad,” he added.

“The NRIs may be involved in sex determination and sex selection  cases in the state. Though Punjab’s sex ratio is 846 girls for 1000 boys in the year 2011, we are working hard to achieve national sex ratio of 950,”  Satish Chandra   said, adding that he would as certain level of NRIs involvement in such practices.

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