The initial crackdown on sonography centres and doctors in Pune district seems to have paid off,as more than a 30-point jump has been witnessed in the girl/boy birth ratio within a period of one year.
Pune had registered the highest of 66 violations of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act in the state. The impact of that is clearly noticeable.
Last year,the girl/boy birth ratio was 948 girls vis a vis 1000 boys. Inspired by last years success,officials authorised to implement the PC-PNDT Act will begin a month-long crash inspection drive of 8,331 sonography centres across the state from June 1. Health Minister Suresh Shetty told The Indian Express that guidelines have been issued to conduct inspections without harassing the doctors.
When contacted by The Indian Express,Dr Sudhakar Kokane,state nodal officer for implementing the PC-PNDT Act,said the increase in the sex ratio at birth is a positive indication. This trend has been noticed in several districts. The sex ratio at birth in the state in March this year has climbed to 908 girls/1000 boys as against 876 girls/1000 boys in March last year.
He,however,cautioned that this was no indication that girls were no longer missing. Inspections of sonography centres,court cases,online complaints and awareness measures to implement the Act have yielded results,Dr Asaram Khade,state PC-PNDT consultant said,adding that it would take a couple of years more to assess the impact.
Khade pointed out there were still 10 to 12 high risk districts,including Beed,Buldhana,Jalgaon,Parbhani,Washim,Hingoli and Jalna,where the sex ratio of children below six years has declined by more 50 points during the census held in 2011,as compared to 2001. The states Child Sex Ratio (CSR) was 914 girls/1000 boys in 2001,whereas it dipped to 883 girls/1000 boys in 2011.
However a series of measures and actions have led to 293 court cases being filed between 2011-13. From 2002,when the PC-PNDT Act was introduced,a total of 432 cases have been registered in various courts against the errant doctors. Of these,Pune city has registered a total of 47 cases,Pune district 13,Pimpri-Chinchwad 6. Thirty six cases were registered in Jalgaon,27 in Ahmednagar and 24 in Beed. So far,a total of 48 persons have been convicted.
Pune district civil surgeon Dr Vinayak More have said and acting chief medical officer of Pune Municipal Corporation Dr S T Pardeshi confirmed checklists have been issued on sealing sonography machines at centres found violating the provisions of the Act,provisions of which include not informing the civic body about purchase of machines or not keeping records.