NAC calls for national policy to tackle declining child sex ratio

Says existing schemes like Beti Bachao Aandolan inadequate

 
By Sonal Matharu
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Worried over the increasing cases of female foeticide, the National Advisory Council (NAC) has suggested the government come up with a national policy on the declining child sex ratio. The policy will help tackle the menace of sex selective abortions. 

The NAC submitted its recommendations on the policy to the Centre last week. In their recommendations, members Farah Naqvi and A K Shiva Kumar, say curbing social evils against women should be the primary concern if girl child is to be saved.

“The complex problem of sex selection needs to be handled both at the demand and the supply side,” said Naqvi while speaking at a workshop on sex selection organised by Delhi-based non-profit, Centre for Advocacy and Research on May 28. “The policy framework will provide a common understanding of the issue,” she added.

To check the practice of sex selection, the state and the Union governments are currently running several schemes like Beti Bachao Aandolan, conditional cash transfer schemes on a girl being born, along with the implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act. The Act makes disclosing the sex of the foetus and aborting it after sex determination, a criminal offence. But these measures have made an insignificant impact to save girls.

What NAC wants 

  • Enhance the overall status of women. The policy must address the issues of gender equity and gender justice
  • An inter-sectoral approach should be followed where the onus to prevent this malpractice of eliminating girl child should not be only on the health ministry or the woman and child ministry but other ministries should also be roped in
  • While preventing the elimination of girl children, the reproductive rights of women to abort must not be rolled back
 
NAC has recommended a holistic approach which includes taking into consideration gender equity, coordination between ministries and uphold the reproductive right of a woman to abort for purposes other than sex selection to ensure a balanced sex ratio.  (see What NAC wants)
To check the menace from the supply side, NAC recommends that the sale of sex selection technology should be restricted. With the technology advancing rapidly, PCPNDT Act may require amendments, said Naqvi. The sex of the foetus can now be checked by a simple blood test. Gene selection is also practiced under which the sex of the foetus can be decided before it is fused with the egg. “Even if there is no new technology, the implementation of the existing PCPNDT Act has been abysmal,” she said.

The child sex ratio, that tells how many girls are born per 1,000 boys, was 945 in 1991. It reduced to 927 in 2001 and further to 914 females per 1,000 males in 2011.


 

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