Receiving flak for not been able to enforce the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act to check female foeticide, the Health Ministry has agreed to transfer enforcement of the law to Women and Child Development ministry.
A senior WCD ministry said they had sought transfer of the subject during its consultation with the Health Ministry on enforcement of the law. “We are yet to receive a formal approval from Cabinet secretariat on the transfer,” a senior ministry official said.
Once the subject is transferred, ministry officials said the NGOs would get a bigger role in reporting cases of use of ultra sound machines for female feticide.
The Health Ministry had received flak for not being able to enforce the law effectively. Once its enforcement is transferred to the WCD ministry, officials said, the focus would change from it being a health issue to a social issue.
“In most states, enforcement of the law is seen more as registration of ultrasonic machines with the government rather than a social problem,” a ministry official said.
The transfer will also have an impact on state governments, which enforce the law. Instead of Health departments, the law would be enforced either by Women and Child development departments or Social Welfare departments. “To make it a mass movement we want to involve NGOs and civil society in its implementation,” an official said.
India’s girl child sex ratio in the age group of zero to six had declined from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001. The ratio in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Chandigarh, Uttaranchal, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, UP, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Daman and Diu is poorer than the national average.
Interim studies on child sex ratio in different states have indicated that the situation has not improved much with proliferation of clinics specializing in conducting sex determination tests.