Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Maneka Gandhi said Monday she has suggested that child sex determination during pregnancy be made compulsory, that the gender of the child be registered right from that moment and the birth be tracked.
Responding to a question about people employing different means to detect the gender of an unborn child despite the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, Maneka told the All India Regional Editors Conference in Jaipur: “Hum logon ne ek cheez pesh ki hai, saari party ke saamne aur mantriyon ke saamne (we have proposed this in front of all parties and ministers). This PCPNDT Act is not under me, but with the health ministry. But till when will we keep arresting people. In this country, if a person goes to an ultrasound owner and asks the gender of his (unborn) kid, who will dare say no.”
“So, till when will we keep the onus on the ultrasound owner. Hamari ek raai hai… we’ve even read in newspapers about a blood test which tells the gender immediately, so till when will we make criminals of people. Better still, we change the policy and make it compulsory to tell a pregnant woman if it is a boy or a girl and get her registered. Then you will be able to monitor it, whether she is born or not,” said Maneka.
“So it becomes a completely different way of looking at it. You will be able to solve this entire problem. You will then be able to give her more nutrition. As it is, states likes Rajasthan have got wonderful programmes in place for giving money to girls,” she said.
The idea, she said, has been discussed with the health ministry but a consensus hasn’t been reached. “This idea was brought up in front of that (health) ministry but the point is we have not reached a conclusion; we are still discussing the pros and cons.”
She said that it is the “developed states” which are the worst offenders of killing the girl child, while there isn’t so much discrimination in the “developing” states.