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

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.



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.


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.


#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


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