#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

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Jaipur: ‘Free’ tag brings more girl out for treatment


DNA | Apr 10, 2013,
Jaipur: A rapid assessment study celebrating the free medicine scheme conducted by district collectors and Chief Medical Health Officers renders a chilling reminder of the continuing mindsets towards the girl child in the state. The study shows that there has been a two to three-fold increase in the treatment of girl children (0-6 years of age), in the six months that the scheme came into being (Oct 2012-Mar 2013) compared to the pre-free medicine scenario (Mar 2012-Sept 2012).
Money wise
The district, which has shown the highest rise in the number of girl children availing free medicines is Jhalawar. According to officials, the number of girls coming in as patients has tripled in the district. Before the scheme was introduced, the number of girl children who took the treatment was 4469, which increased to 12,883, doctors said.
In Barmer there has been an increase of 90 to 100 percent. Before the scheme was initiated, 31,640 girls registered for treatment. Their numbers rose to 62,763 after the scheme’s implementation.
In simple terms, now that the medicines are ‘free’, people are finally flocking to hospitals to avail treatment for their girl children, implying they were not being treated whenever it implied a financial cost.
Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation (RMSC) MD Samit Sharma said, “After the scheme has been launched, a two to three fold increase in girl children coming for treatment has been witnessed. Now, people are taking their girl children to hospitals for treatment in large numbers,” he added. Sharma said that it is for the first time in the last 65 years there is access to health services as people can get free medicines. Now free medical tests will definitely help in the increase of girl child ratio in the state, he stated.
Dr Hemant Acharaya of Save the Child organisation said, “With the government initiative of free medicine, free medical tests and schemes like Shubh Laxmi Yojna, people are now willing to bring their girl child for medical attention, which will be a boon to save the female child.” In the state, people are gender biased giving priority only to the male child. People do not spend on girl child education, health and food nutrition, which has reflected in a declining female sex ratio.
The free medicine scheme was started in October 2012 and until now around 10 crore people have benefited from it. Last year alone, 7.63 crore people availed of scheme.

 

 

A village that plants 111 trees for every girl born in Rajasthan


Jaipur, April 11, 2013

Mahim Pratap Singh, The Hindu

  • A pond at the Piplantri village cater to the needs of the local population. Photo courtesy: www.piplantri.com
    A pond at the Piplantri village cater to the needs of the local population. Photo courtesy:www.piplantri.com
  • A check dam at the Piplantri village cater to the needs of the local population. Photo courtesy: www.piplantri.com
    A check dam at the Piplantri village cater to the needs of the local population. Photo courtesy:www.piplantri.com

In an atmosphere where every morning, our newspapers greet us with stories of girls being tormented, raped, killed or treated like a doormat in one way or another, trust India’s “village republics” to bring in some good news from time to time.

One such village in southern Rajasthan‘s Rajsamand district is quietly practicing its own, homegrown brand of Eco-feminism and achieving spectacular results.

For the last several years, Piplantri village panchayat has been saving girl children and increasing the green cover in and around it at the same time.

Here, villagers plant 111 trees every time a girl is born and the community ensures these trees survive, attaining fruition as the girls grow up.

Over the last six years, people here have managed to plant over a quarter million trees on the village’s grazing commons- inlcuding neem, sheesham, mango, Amla among others.

On an average 60 girls are born here every year, according to the village’s former sarpanch Shyam Sundar Paliwal, who was instrumental in starting this initiative in the memory of his daughter Kiran, who died a few years ago.

In about half these cases, parents are reluctant to accept the girl children, he says.

Such families are identified by a village committee comprising the village school principal along with panchayat and Anganwadi members.

Rs. 21,000 are collected from the village residents and Rs.10,000 from the girl’s father and this sum of Rs. 31,000 is made into a fixed deposit for the girl, with a maturity period of 20 years.

But here’s the best part.

“We make these parents sign an affidavit promising that they would not marry her off before the legal age, send her to school regularly and take care of the trees planted in her name,” says Mr. Paliwal.

People also plant 11 trees whenever a family member dies.

But this village of 8,000 did not just stop at planting trees and greening their commons. To prevent these trees from being infested with termite, the residents planted over two and a half million Aloevera plants around them.

Now these trees, especially the Aloevera, are a source of livelihood for several residents.

“Gradually, we realized that aloevera could be processed and marketed in a variety of ways. So we invited some experts and asked them to train our women. Now residents make and market aloevera products like juice, gel, pickle etc,” he says.

The village panchayat, which has a studio-recorded anthem and a website of its own, has completely banned alcohol, open grazing of animals and cutting of trees.

Villagers claim there has not been any police case here for the last 7-8 years.

Mr. Paliwal recalls the visit of social activist Anna Hazare, who was very happy with the progress made by the village, he says.

“But Rajasthan is quite backward in terms of village development compared to panchayats in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra etc. So we need to work hard towards creating more and more empowered villages,” says the former sarpanch, hoping the government listens to him.

Keywords: RajasthanRural developmentGirl childPiplantriEnvironmentWomen empowerment

 

Aamir Khan’s show helps set up fast-track court


It’s been around six months since Aamir Khan’s show, Satyamev Jayate (SJ), went off air. However, the impact it continues to have on some of the country’s social issues still comes as a surprise. During the show, Aamir had requested the Rajasthan government to set up fast-track courts
for cases that deserved urgent attention. In no time, one such court was set up in Kota. Now fully functional, it recently passed verdicts on two cases, and will declare two more in the coming week (on February 22 and 25). 

“We have a confirmation from the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) authority of Kota regarding a defaulting doctor (in a sex determination case), who has now been convicted for two years,” says Svati Chakravarty, co-director and research head, SJ.

“This decision was taken by the fast-track court that was formed after Aamir met chief minister Ashok Gehlot in May 2012. The idea of the court is to pass verdicts within six weeks of hearing a case, and these cases had been languishing in courts across the state since 2006. This is Rajasthan’s first-ever conviction under the PCPNDT Act,” she adds.

Ask the actor about this recent development and he says, “I congratulate the Rajasthan judiciary and the Rajasthan government for such dynamic and speedy action in dealing with this urgent social problem, which is plaguing our society.”

“The action taken by the Rajasthan authorities will act as a huge deterrent to other potential offenders of this law. The rest of India needs to follow this lead. The country now waits to see what action the Rajasthan Medical Council takes against the convicted doctors,” adds Aamir.

for cases that deserved urgent attention. In no time, one such court was set up in Kota. Now fully functional, it recently passed verdicts on two cases, and will declare two more in the coming week (on February 22 and 25). 

“We have a confirmation from the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) authority of Kota regarding a defaulting doctor (in a sex determination case), who has now been convicted for two years,” says Svati Chakravarty, co-director and research head, SJ.

“This decision was taken by the fast-track court that was formed after Aamir met chief minister Ashok Gehlot in May 2012. The idea of the court is to pass verdicts within six weeks of hearing a case, and these cases had been languishing in courts across the state since 2006. This is Rajasthan’s first-ever conviction under the PCPNDT Act,” she adds.

Ask the actor about this recent development and he says, “I congratulate the Rajasthan judiciary and the Rajasthan government for such dynamic and speedy action in dealing with this urgent social problem, which is plaguing our society.”

“The action taken by the Rajasthan authorities will act as a huge deterrent to other potential offenders of this law. The rest of India needs to follow this lead. The country now waits to see what action the Rajasthan Medical Council takes against the convicted doctors,” adds Aamir.

 

Rajasthan woman sells son for Rs.40,000, held


 

By IANS – JAIPUR

09th August 2012 05:05 PM

A woman, her husband and two others were arrested Thursday for selling her new-born son for Rs.40,000 in Rajathan’s Sriganganagar town, police said.

Sandhya Devi sold the child to her neighbour and his wife to get money for the treatment of her two-year-old paralytic son. She lives in Satya Farm neighbourhood in the town, some 500 km from Jaipur, police said.

“She had taken her paralytic son to a hospital in Udaipur where the doctors told her that his treatment would cost around Rs.40,000,” said an officer.

“Sandhya was pregnant at that time. When her neighbour Vinod Agarwal came to know that she was in need of money, he offered to bear the treatment cost of her paralytic son. In exchange, he demanded that she would have to sell her baby after delivery, in case it is a boy,” said the officer.

The officer said that Agarwal paid Rs.20,000 to Sandhya after she gave birth to a baby boy recently and said that he would pay the remaining amount after she handed over the new-born to him.

The team of anti-human trafficking branch of police got a tip-off about the illegal deal to sell the baby after which an investigation was launched.

A first information report was registered against Sandhya, her husband Ashok, neighbour Agarwal and his wife Shakuntala Devi Wednesday evening. “They were arrested Thursday,” said the officer.

 

Over 350 private sonography clinics stop operation in Jaipur


 

Press Trust of India / Jaipur May 22,

 

Nearly 350 private sonography clinics in the district today stopped operation in protest against “arbitrary attitude” of Rajasthan health department while carrying out crackdown against female foeticide.

Clinics in Jaipur did not conduct tests on pregnant women today whereas sonography centres in other districts would join them tomorrow.

“It is not a strike nor agitation, but a painful decision we are bound to take due to arbitrary attitude of the government which in the name of violation of PCPNDT act is targeting innocent doctors,” Vijay Kapoor, secretary of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Society said in a press conference here today.

“In the last few months, the department has taken action against several innocent doctors in the name of violation of the act, Pre conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex selection) 1994,” he said.

Expressing support on the need to stop female foeticide, Kapoor said those found guilty should be suspended, however, the government should be impartial in its approach.

“We are also against sex determination and all the doctors are not involved in this illegal practice. Those who are not indulged in this are also being targeted by the department unnecessarily which is objectionable so we have no option but to stop functioning sonography machines,” he said.

Sanjay Arya, president of the society said private sonography centres in other districts will not conduct test from tomorrow for indefinite period.

“We are getting confirmation from private doctors in other districts and they will join us from tomorrow,” he said.

Doctors are being targeted even for a clerical mistake. It is not justified,” he said.

When contacted, an official of health department denied the charge saying that checking of sonography centres, wherever it took place, was impartial.

India faces female infanticide crisis


 

As the only girl in her noisy classroom of 22 boys, Padma Kanwar Bhatti is one defiant symbol of the toll exacted by India’s deadly preference for male children.

Padma, 15, lives with her parents and two elder brothers in Devda, a village of 2,500 people in the Rajasthan state district of Jaisalmer, which has one of the worst female sex ratios in the country.

“There is no other girl in my class and there are very few girls in our village,” she says hesitantly.

Padma chooses to stare at her social science text book when asked why there are less girls and more boys in her village, set in the barren lands of the Thar desert.

“Girls die,” she says in Marwari, the main language of Rajasthan.

Almost everyone in Devda and neighbouring villages acknowledges the reality of female infanticide, a crime based in ancient custom and continued today even as much of India undergoes rapid economic and social change.

“We are crazy for boys. We mourn when girls are born,” says Rajan Singhi, a farmer in Devda and a father of two boys, who is proud of his long ancestry as a member of the warrior Bhatti Rajput clan.

In most cases the killing takes place within 24 hours of a baby’s birth and the crime is committed either by the mother or the midwife, he says.

“I have heard that people administer opium or thrust a small but heavy sack filled with sand or mustard seeds on the baby’s face. Many mothers do not breast feed their daughter, starving the child to death,” Singhi says.

Umashankar Tyagi, a social historian in Jaipur, said the ‘custom’ of killing continues to thrive, explaining that “the expense of dowries, illiteracy, poverty” are the justification offered for infanticide.

Clan elders and state government officials say that just two Devda girls have had weddings in the village in the past 100 years.

‘Girls are buried in the desert and no-one mourns the loss’

The situation reflects a nationwide crisis in India.

Other factors are the substantial — and illegal — dowries that a father must provide for his daughter’s new family at her wedding, and the fact that sons are often seen as breadwinners and daughters as financial burdens.

As many as half a million female foetuses are estimated to be aborted each year in India, according to a study by British medical journal The Lancet.

In Rajasthan, local administration and senior police officers say they are aware of the atrocities committed against female infants, but the authorities appear reluctant to intervene in private family lives.

“Infanticide is an open secret but it is next to impossible to prove the crime,” says Mamta Bishnoi, senior police officer of Jaisalmer district.

“Girls are buried in the desert and no one in the clan ever inquires about the newborn or mourns the loss,” says Bishnoi, adding “we cannot dig up the entire desert to hunt for the girls.”

The Jaisalmer district has one of the worst child gender ratios in India. It stands at 868 girls under six per 1,000 boys, compared with 914 girls per 1,000 boys across India, according to 2011 census data.

In Devda, women are relegated to the innermost chamber of the house, and can step out only for a visit to the temple.

They walk in pairs, covering their faces with bright coloured scarves like a screen, so that even the shadow of a man does not fall on them.

“I don’t send my daughter to the school because I don’t like the idea of girls talking to male teachers,” says Bimla Devi Bhatti, a mother of two daughters.

At a daughter’s wedding, “we have to give gold, silver, cash, vessels, beds, television sets, air coolers, clothes to the groom’s family and also arrange for a three-day village feast,” says Bhatti.

“We have to start saving for the dowry from the day a daughter is born. I will have to sell my land to get them married.”

In an attempt to end the killing, the state government has proposed to open a bank account for every girl child born in the state and deposit Rs25,000 ($500).

Once the girl turns 18, the government will gift her the amount to give the family a financial incentive to save their daughters.

“But this proposal is yet to be implemented,” says Yashveer Pokharan, who works in a private school in Devda. “Daughters here desperately need this financial support to survive.”

Any hope that the modernisation of Indian life could provide better prospects for the unborn girls of Devda may be misplaced.

Cheap prenatal sex-determination technology such as ultrasound scans and blood tests has only worsened the problem of  sex selection in India’s middle-class city suburbs. — AFP

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