Colloquium on Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act
The patriarchal social framework and a value system based on preference for a son had resulted in discrimination and neglect of the girl child, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Wednesday.
Inaugurating a colloquium on Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 for District Collectors here, Mr. Patnaik said proliferation and abuse of advanced technologies coupled with social factors such as dowry, concerns with family name and looking up to the son as a bread winner had led to an alarming rise in the practice of female foeticide.
‘Cause of concern’
“The practice of sex selection is artificially altering the demographic landscape of our country. The imbalance in the child sex ratio has implications not only for gender justice and gender inequality, but will also result in social violence, thereby impacting human development,” Mr. Patnaik observed.
Stating that the status of women in society was a major cause of concern that influenced biases against women, Mr. Patnaik said that the State government had accorded high priority in ensuring gender equity in education, political participation as well as in economic and employment opportunities. Several definitive measures had been taken by the State government in order to improve the status of women in society, he said.
The Chief Minister said that initiatives such as 50 per cent reservation for women in Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies, 33 per cent reservation in government jobs, and special incentives to girls for taking up education were some of the progressive steps taken by his government for furthering the status of women.
Stressing the need for a convergent action plan involving all the departments and institutions concerned, Mr. Patnaik said that the long-term solution to this problem lies in creating the right environment where sons and daughters were equally valued.
In his address, Chief Justice of Odisha High Court Justice V. Gopala Gowda said that it was not only a political responsibility but the responsibility of all citizens to change their attitude to bring about a socio-political change.
The colloquium was organised by the Odisha State legal Services Authority and the Department of Health and Family Welfare with support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The programme aimed at orienting the district administration to take pro-active steps in tracking the violators of law.