From information technology to family planning, Cyberabad seems to be the leader.
A recent study has shown that the Andhra Pradesh capital possibly has a solution for female foeticide. In 2005, more girls were born than boys (1,014) girls to 1,000 boys) in the city which till 2001 had a sex ratio of 942:1,000.
The right ratio
• In 36 months preceding 2005, more girl births only in three months
• In 2005, more girls born in 8 out of 12 months. Child sex ratio for that year: 1,014 girls to 1,000 boys
How they did it
• Effective implementation of Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique Act, ’94
• Tracking of all births
• Crackdown on malpractices in diagnostic centres, registration cancellations and fines
Effective implementation of the Pre-National Diagnostic Technique (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 and tracking of all births were among the initiatives taken to achieve the feat. Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury told the Hindustan Times: “Now that Hyderabad has provided the solution, we will prepare a gender development index based on the model, for the states to adopt.”
Arvind Kumar, former district magistrate of Hyderabad, while addressing a gathering of IAS probationers at IAS Academy, Mussouri, explained how the government had found that the state’s 389 diagnostic centres were to blame for the falling sex ratio and how it crackesd down on these centres. Between 1991 and 2001, the sex ratio in Hyderabad fell by 21 percentage points.
“While in 72 per cent of cases, the addresses of the pregnant women were either not mentioned or not complete, in 91 per cent cases the details of the father of the child were not mentioned. Ultrasonography was conducted at random in 67 per cent cases without proper referrals. Alarming discrepancies were detected,” he said.
The government cancelled the registrations of 102 diagnostic centres and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 as per the provisions of the law. “We made sure that killing a girl child was impossible in the city and its impact was evident in 2005 when more girls were born than boys,” he told HT.
Chowdhury agreed with Kumar that the Act had enough teeth to prevent female foeticide but felt the states had not implemented it with proper vigour. “I will soon ask the state governments to follow the Hyderabad model on institutional audits to prevent the killing of the girl child in foetus,” she said.