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Madhya Pradesh Gets Tough on Sex Determination Tests

Bhopal: Faced with a declining sex ratio, the Madhya Pradesh government has directed that cases against sonography centres - misused by people// who want sons - can now be directly registered in courts.

According to official sources, violations under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act would be dealt with directly by the courts.

"Minister for Public Health and Family Welfare Ajay Vishnoi has directed the PNDT state supervisory board that cases against sonography centres for sex determination tests should be registered straight in court so that erring institutions can be punished at the earliest," said an official here.

The minister also asked for action against centres that fail to submit detailed records of their clients to chief medical officers every month.

The state has 1,139 sonography centres, including 1,058 private ones.

The act strictly forbids the use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex determination and restricts sharing information on the foetus' sex. "It further prohibits sex selection, sale of ultrasound machines to unregistered units and any kind of advertising for sex determination techniques," said Sunil Jain, counsel for NGOs Praytan and Dharti Gram Uthan that recently petitioned against the prevalence of female foeticide in the state.

"Though the act exists, its poor implementation has seen an alarming decline in the child sex ratio over the past two decades. From a child sex ratio of 975 girls per 1,000 boys in the state in 1981, it has declined to 932 girls as per Census 2001," he said.

The 2001 Census figures paint a startling picture about the gender balance in some districts with the worst affected being Bhind (832 girls per 1,000 boys), Morena (837) and Gwalior (853). In some villages of Morena, there are as few as 400 to 700 females for every 1,000 males.

"If conditions do not improve, girls will be on the brink of extinction
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