A UK based charity has evidence to prove an increase in NRIs travelling to India for pre-natal sex determination and incidences of “abortions” using Indian clinical facilities even as its study report is likely to be released next month, revealed UK MP Virendra Sharma in Jalandhar on Monday.
Sharma, accompanied by NRI Sabha, Punjab president Kamaljeet Hayre, said that during a study conducted by a UK Charity – “Jeena” (allow me to live)– in Punjab, a section of Indian families settled in UK, Canada, US and Australia were found returning back to their motherland for using Indian clinical facilities for sex determination.
The next step is to ensure expectant women should abort the baby in case it is a girl foetus, he revealed. The charity had collected enough evidences to prove increase in such incidences of female foeticide involving NRI families, Sharma said, adding that the matter was of serious concern for the society in India and abroad.
“The study report will be released in UK next month even as the same will also be simultaneously made available in India for identifying the grey areas and to work out solutions at society and government levels,” he said.
Though sex determination was banned in foreign countries, the NRIs preferred to abuse Indian legal system by indulging into such illegal practices. “It’s an open secret that a section of clinical facilities in India are open to such practices for obvious reasons. This leads to skewing sex ratio,” he added.
Experts said that the problem among Indians worldwide is less one of discrimination against the girls than the desire to have at least one boy, as studies show, parents did not abort their first born child even if they knew it was a girl. But if a family is going to have only two children and they already had a girl, then they will try the second child should be a boy.
On solutions, Sharma suggested there was need to have embassy level coordination and understanding on Indian cultural issues so as to check such practices. “The British High Commission in New Delhi should be engaged with Indian High Commission in London to understand and solve such issues. There is need for a social engineering through engagement of community leaders with government functionaries whether in India or abroad,” he added.
Turning on lukewarm response of NRIs in casting their votes during recently concluded Punjab Vidhan Sabha, he said that there was need to create worldwide awareness amongst the NRIs on easy registration as voters. “Besides, there is need to set up polling stations at Indian missions or embassies, where such overseas electors can cast their votes. Its virtually impossible for the NRIs to spend huge money on travelling back to India just for casting their votes,” Sharma said.
Principal Secretary, health and family welfare department, Satish Chandra, when contacted, said that the female foeticide was a reality in the state even as Punjab had improved significantly on sex ratio front in past one decade.
“The NRIs may be involved in sex determination and female foeticide cases in the state. Though Punjab’s sex ratio is 846 girls for 1000 boys in the year 2011, we are working hard to achieve national sex ratio of 950,” Chandra said, adding that he would ascertain level of NRIs involvement in such practices.