In its bid to arrest the declining sex ratio in 0-6 age group, the Medical & Health Department is resorting to a ‘sting operation’ on hospitals, scanning centres/clinics next month for cracking the whip on those violating the Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC & PNDT) Act.

It is deploying over 100 trained ‘decoy customers’ to expose the doctors or their staff determining and disclosing sex of the foetus, with solid evidence in the form of audio and video footage. Like in a classic sting operation, they are being equipped with spy cameras.

These decoy customers will visit hospitals and scanning centres on a random basis and virtually ‘plead’ with the doctors to let them know sex of the foetuses by citing their strong desire to give birth to male children and expressing willingness to pay more for their ‘help’.

This exercise is being taken up in Guntur city and all municipalities with the hope that the sting operation will instil a sense of fear that violating the Act will spell trouble in addition to actually bringing out the errant medical practitioners and their staff.

The first round of this decoy operation conducted in 70 hospitals/labs in Chilakaluripet, Guntur and Tenali last month found no violator so far as the disclosure of sex of foetus is concerned.

The decoy customers will be reporting their findings to the District Advisory Committee which will give its feedback to the Multi-Member Appropriate Authority (MMAA) for PC & PNDT Act. The District Collector who is Chairman of the MMAA will then take punitive action.

The decoy operation, among other measures for saving the girl child, has become essential as even regular inspections could not bring out the stark facts. The PC & PNDT Act envisaged stringent action on both doctors and their staff in the event of determination and disclosure of sex of the foetus either on the hospital/laboratory premises or at any other location.

Since the scope of violations is pretty wide, decoy customers will be extremely helpful in exposing the culprits.

District Medical & Health Officer M. Gopi Naik told The Hindu that the child sex ratio came down from 965 in 1991 to 955 in 2001 and 948 as per the 2011 Census. The decoy customers may not give instant results but will certainly have the deterrent effect in the medium to long term, he observed.

  • The aim is to crack the whip on those revealing sex of the foetus

  • DMHO says child sex ratio down from 965 in 1991 to 955 in 2001