Even as Gujarat Government is making tall claims of Women Empowerment, the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) for the year ended in March 2014 which was tabled in the Gujarat Assembly on Tuesday records that the sex ratio at birth in 15 out of 26 districts in the state declined in 2013 as compared to 2012.
While highlighting this fact, the CAG report has also found a number of deficiencies in the policy implementation by Gujarat in the field of Welfare of Women and Children.
On the decreased girl child ratio in the state, the CAG records, “As per census 2011, the trend of overall sex ratio of the state had declined (from 920 to 919) though all-India ratio had improved (from 933 to 943) as compared to 2012 as per data of Civil Registration System.”
The CAG records that while the state registered 70.95 lakh pregnancies between years 2009 and 2014, the number of registered deliveries was only 57.66 lakh. This leaves a difference of 13.29 lakh and CAG reports that, “…the district authorities had not properly investigated the reasons for difference.”
On the implementation of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC&PNDT) Act, the report says that out of 181 offence registered under the Act, only 49 cases were finalised and only six delinquents could be convicted. “…though the Supreme Court had directed (March 2013) to finalise the cases within six months, the pending cases had not been finalised; the pendency period of these cases (of PC&PNDT Act) ranged from one to 12 years,” said CAG.
It further stated that since the implementation of the PC&PNDT Act in 1994, the district authorities of the state government had successfully conducted only 14 sting operations. This, CAG said, “…indicated lack of monitoring on the part of district Appropriate Authorities.”
On the front of child marriages, the CAG recorded, “Out of 659 complaints of child marriages received during 2009-14, court cases were filed in only 15 cases and not a single person was convicted in the State during the review period.”
On Adoption of babies, the CAG recorded that Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAAs) had not been established in 12 districts resulting in deprivation of protection and care to orphaned, abandoned or surrendered children in these districts. It added that not a single SAA was nominated as Cradle Baby Reception Centre in the State to rescue abandoned baby girls.
It further stated that some of the 216 abandoned baby girls found dead during 2009-14 could have been avoided, had one or more SAA been nominated as Cradle Baby Reception Centre.
On the in-country and inter-country adoption of girl child in Gujarat, CAG said, that 55 girl children were adopted int-country and 54 girl children were adopted inter-country during 2009-14. However, CAG said, adoption procedure in respect of 43 girls was delayed for a period upto 1175 days due to delay in issue of ‘legally free for adoption’ certificate by the Child Welfare Committees.
On Children’s Homes, the CAG has reported that non-rationalisation of Children’s Homes led to deprivation of benefits to needy children and increased overhead expenditure in running these Children’s Homes. “Audit observed that girls with special needs were accommodated with other girls in two Children’s Homes. Children of various age groups were found accommodated in a single home instead of accommodating in separate homes as per Juvenile Justice Rules.”
Also, after-care facility was not provided to girl children who left Children’s Homes after attaining age of 18 years which could lead to difficulty for the child to adapt to the challenges in the society, CAG reported.
It also recorded that cases of kidnapping and abduction and cases of rape in the state had increased during 2009-14 and monitoring of schemes for protection and care of children at the state and district level was deficient.