The Gurgaon district health department is working on a plan for women employees of civil hospitals, primary and secondary healthcare centres to give early proof of pregnancy to avail of maternity leave, said officials. The move aims at stopping female foeticide and preventing prenatal sex determination tests, added the officials.
The health department took the lead to work on this plan for itself after Gurgaon depicted a rather skewed child sex ratio compared to other places in Haryana, said a senior district administration official.
“We are working on the plan. It is however, difficult to track each case of sex determination. According to the plan, pregnant women employees will have to get themselves registered within the first eight weeks of pregnancy to avail of maternity leave,” said Dr Saryu Sharma, Deputy Chief Medical Officer (CMO).
According to data released by the state government, Gurgaon reported a worse sex ratio at birth (852) than predominantly rural and less literate districts such as Mewat (913) and Sirsa (914) in 2015. According to 2011 census data, the literacy rate of Gurgaon was 84.7 per cent, the highest in Haryana, while it was 54.08 per cent and 68.82 per cent in Mewat and Sirsa, respectively.
During the release of the statewide sex ratio figures, in Chandigarh on January 16, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar praised health department authorities for effecting an upward trend in sex ratio for the first time in 10 years. Gurgaon, however, did not show any improvement in this regard over the previous year in absolute terms.
The Gurgaon health department, however, feels it has come a long way. “District health officials have been conducting raids in accordance with the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 to check illegal prenatal sex determination,” said Dr Sharma, who is also the head of the PNDT Act team in Gurgaon district. “From July last year till now, we have conducted nine raids across Gurgaon district. Of these, six were successful and the culprits were caught.”