Special Correspondent

To check the declining child sex ratio in the State.

NEW DELHI: Women Power Connect (WPC), a national level organisation of women's groups and individuals, has impressed upon the Punjab Government to take urgent measures for the effective implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act 2003 to check the declining child sex ratio in the State.

In a letter addressed to Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, the women's groups have suggested that all Government officials should be sensitised towards the issue of declining girl-child sex ratio and capacitated for stringent implementation of the Act. Police personnel, lawyers and doctors should be sensitised for better implementation of the Act with the direct involvement of State Commission for Women and other Women's organisations in monitoring, Ranjana Kumari, Director, WPC has suggested.

The other recommendations of the WPC include extension of the post of `Appropriate Authorities' to district and block levels to ensure proper implementation of the Act with provision to provide quality legal advice wherever necessary; provide adequate infrastructure and administrative support for state and district level authorities and introduction of regular auditing of the birth registers at all the hospitals and clinics to monitor sex ratio trends and also details of services provided by all registered clinics.

It has also recommended follow up of pending legal proceedings against errant medical practitioners involved in conducting selective abortions and pre-natal diagnostic tests to determine the sex of the unborn child; conduct continuous advocacy programmes, at different levels within the State, with the departments, institutions, professional associations, panchayats and others on dealing with the issue of girl-child sex ratio and provide adequate infrastructure and administrative support for State and district level authorities.

According to the latest census reports, districts with the worst child sex ratio were all in Punjab and Haryana, two of India's wealthiest States, as also Delhi and Chandigarh demanding sustained awareness and sensitization campaign to transform the very perception of society about the female child. Among the worst 10 districts in India in the matter of adverse sex ratio is Fathegarh Sahib at the bottom followed by Gurdaspur, both in Punjab. The other eight districts were Patiala, Ambala, Mansa, Kapurthala, Bhatinda and Sangrur in Punjab and Kurukshetra and Sonipat in Haryana.

Available demographic data show that selective abortion of female foetus is taking place unabated despite the Government's efforts of enacting the Pre Natal Diagnostic Technique Act in 1994 and the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act in 2003. The child sex ratio, which is a vital indicator to the status of girl child and of women in the country, has shown a decline from 945 to 927 girls per 1000 boys in the age group of `0 to 6 years' between 1991 and 2001. This decline, the data shows, is worse in the north -west region of India.