In a move that acquires significance in the backdrop of the provisional census figures which have thrown up a highly skewed child sex ratio in the less-than-6 age group, the Union health ministry has reconstituted the central supervisory board under Pre-conception & Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC & PNDT Act).
The new board will have 35 members including health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, women and child development minister Krishna Tirath, ex-officio members, ten non official members comprising geneticists, gynaecologists and obstetricians, paediatricians, social scientists and representatives of women welfare organizations; three women MPs, and four members to be appointed by rotation to represent the states and UTs and special invitees, a health ministry release said.
On April 20, a review meeting of state health secretaries will be held for an in-depth review of the implementation of the PC & PNDT Act and to chalk out a concerted action plan to check the practice of sex selection leading to female foeticide.
The first meeting of the reconstituted board is likely to be held in the last week of May.
"The census figures showing 914 girls per 1000 boys is the worst ever since independence. We have been demanding a change in the Pre natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) law since the last five years," outgoing National Commission for Women chairperson Girija Vyas had told Hindustan Times. The child sex ratio was 927 in the 2001 census.
The main objective of the Act is to ban the use of sex selection techniques before or after conception as well as misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex selective abortions and to regulate such techniques, so as to pre-empt the misuse of such technologies and consequent adverse impact on the sex ratio.
The board's functions include - to advise the central government on policy matters relating to use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques, sex selection techniques and against their misuse; to review and monitor implementation of the Act and rules made thereunder and recommend to the Central Government changes in the said Act and rules; to create public awareness against the practice of pre-conception sex selection and pre-natal determination of sex of foetus leading to female foeticide; to lay down code of conduct to be observed by persons working at Genetic Counseling Centres, Genetic Laboratories and Genetic Clinics; to oversee the performance of various bodies constituted under the Act and take appropriate steps to ensure its proper and effective implementation.
Prior to that, a review meeting of State Health Secretaries has been scheduled on the 20th April 2011 for an in-depth review of the implementation of the PC & PNDT Act and to chalk out a concerted action plan to check the practice of sex selection leading to female foeticide.
The first meeting of the reconstituted Board is likely to be held in the last week of May 2011.