The monitoring of PC&PNDT Act itself is dismal in the State: Health Minister
Alarmed over the declining child sex ratio in the State over the last one decade, the government has decided to clamp down on the hospitals, medical and diagnostic centres violating the provisions of the Pre-Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostics Act 1994 and Rules 1996.
The child sex ratio of the age group of 0-6 years children in the State decreased from 961 in 2001 census to 943 in 2011 census for every 1,000 males due to female foeticide. In Warangal, it is worse as the ratio decreased from 955 in 2001 to 912 in 2011 census. West Godavari is the only district which did not show any drop in the ratio during the period which remained 970 in 2001 and 2011.
Health Minister D.L. Ravindra Reddy, who convened a meeting of the State Advisory Committee on implementation of PC&PNDT Act here on Monday, said the implementation of the Act was poor due to various factors. The State reported lowest sex ratio among the Southern States.
The Act provides for imprisonment of three years and a fine of Rs.10,000 for its violators, including individuals who seek such tests. It would be enforced strictly hereafter, he asserted.
Briefing the media persons later, he said that despite rampant violation of the Act, only 73 cases were booked in the last one decade. Of that, 31 cases were disposed of without any action and the remaining are pending. Not even a single conviction was awarded so far, he said.
Sources said that cases were also pending against corporate hospitals including Apollo and Yashoda hospitals for violation of the Act.
The monitoring of the Act itself was dismal in the State. The State Advisory Committee was supposed to meet once in four months, but the last time it met was in 2004. However, from now onwards, the committee would meet once in four months and the district-level committees headed by the Collector, once in two months, Dr. Ravindra Reddy said.
The Family Welfare Commissioner Poonam Malakondaiah was authorised to initiate criminal action against all those hospitals, medical centres, doctors and individuals who violated the Act. “We will not brook any political pressures hereafter. At the district level, DMHO would initiate action,” he added.
Priority would be given to sensitisation of police, medial officers, DMHOs, judicial officers and legal consultants would be appointed for each district. Ms. Malakondaiah said that people could call up toll free number 104 to report sex determination test and their identity would be kept confidential.