Odisha – Pregnant women to sting sex-test labs


 

Alarmed by falling sex ratio, the Odisha government has decided to use pregnant women in sting operations for nailing clinics and nursing homes conducting sex determination tests and even selective sex elimination. Prenatal sex determination is banned in India. The move has shades  of the film Kahaani, but its lead actors will be women who are 14-22 weeks pregnant, unlike Vidya Balan who sported a prosthetic belly for a high-risk game on reel.

“The decoys will pose as women seeking sex determination tests,” state health secretary PK Mohapatra said on Thursday. “They’ll be paid Rs.5,000; we have a budgetary provision for that.”

Asked if the government feared criticism, Mohapatra said none was expected.

The sex ratio in Odisha has declined from 953 females per 1,000 males in 2001 to 934 in 2011. In more than 10 of the state’s 30 districts, the sex ratio is less than 900, with Nayagarh having the most skewed figure of 851.

Last year, a court in Jharsuguda district held three doctors guilty of conducting sex determination tests. This has been the only conviction for the crime so far in the state.

A preference for sons is largely responsible for gender imbalance in the country. India’s child sex ratio is 914 girls per 1,000 boys, below the global benchmark of 952.

 

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Victims’ silence roadblock in conviction-Congress MLA Praniti Shinde


 

 

Aug 9, 2012, 05.37AM IST TNN[ Sanjeev Shivadekar ]

MUMBAI: The state administration says that prosecution and securing conviction in sex determinAtion cases are challenging tasks since the victims are statutorily not the complainants in such cases.

A senior official said thatsexs election e cases remain confined between the government and the errant doctors because it is not mandatory on victims to file complaints. Unlike other crimes against women, “where the victim is often the complainant, in cases of sex determination and female foeticide the state is the complainant against the criminal medicos. As a result, the state has to take the initiative in unearthing such cases, employing techniques like sting operations,” the official added.

He explained that the practice of victims not being made complainant is in place to prevent the women from suffering “social embarrassment”.

“Nevertheless, victims should be prodded to turn complainant. If a victim comes forward at the stage of filing compliant, it adds teeth to the case and makes investigation , prosecution and conviction a well-coordinated task. To protect her, the victim’s identity should not be revealed at any stage,” the Mantralaya official said.

Congress MLA Praniti Shinde, who is a member of the state PCPNDT committee, too maintained that victims should step forth and help fight the menace of sex selection . “The society should encourage victims to lodge complaints against crooked doctors. The government, for its part, should ensure that the victims’ names are not revealed and there is no danger to their lives,” Shinde said.

The increasing incidence of  sex selection  has, over the years, put the ruling Democratic Front government in a tight spot. It adopted a slew of measures to curb the menace , thanks largely to the activism of voluntary and women’s rights groups.

Health minister Suresh Shetty, during the recent monsoon session of the legislature , announced that plans are afoot to also book the family members of victims in sexdetermination cases. Shetty declared that the government would seek the Centre’s opinion for slapping homicide charge against those involved in  sex selection

A government official said the reason for poor conviction in sex determination cases, apart from victims not being part of them, is the lack of paperwork and scrutiny before cases are filed. “Following an outcry over the declining child sex ratio, the authorities swung into action and started raiding sonography centres and hospitals. But many times officials, in a hurry, do not bother to prepare a watertight case. Furthermore , lawyers taking up such cases on behalf of the government do not understand the importance of the matter. Insufficient paperwork and poor homework, therefore, lead to acquittals of medicos,” the official added.

Shinde cited the instance of an additional public prosecutor who remained absent from the hearing in a Solapur court of a criminal appeal against a doctor booked under the PCPNDT Act. “The lawyer’s behaviour was indefensible.”

 

Mukhbir Yojna scripts a success story in state


JAIPUR: The Mukhbir Yojna, which was launched in January to intensify the fight against sex selection, has now started paying dividends. In one of its major achievements, a doctor was caught red-handed for alleged involvement in sex determination in Jaipur‘s Vaishali Nagar area on Wednesday.

An official of the Pre-conception and pre natal diagnostic techniques (PCPNDT) cell said, “The Mukhbir Yojna has started showing results as we are getting tip offs on illegal practices. The doctor who was caught red-handed was an outcome of the Mukhbir Yojna.”

The government introduced the Yojna under which a person providing confirmed information about the involvement of a doctor or a medical staff in sex determination will get a reward of Rs 25,000. A reward of equal prize money has also been set aside for those who can give information about unregistered and illegal sonography machines.

The official said a day before the raid (on Tuesday), the PCPNDT cell received information about the doctor’s involvement in sex determination.

( How long will this work , thats the question )

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