Punjab government curbs female foeticide through PNDT Act

If Punjab Government takes credit for not only keeping a check but also bringing down the incidents of female foeticide, its primarily due to the fact that the SAD-BJP government became strict with the implementation of PNDT Act. The effect was visible as the number of female foeticide cases came down substantially after the year 2009.

In fact the government undertook a wide range of awareness generation activities for changing the mind set of ruralites about the girl child and also by sensitizing the ultrasonologists and the general masses about the provisions of the PNDT Act. This was coupled with the effective implementation and monitoring at various levels.

Steps for implementation of PNDT Act

The government constituted a high level state advisory committee in which persons representing NGOs working for the cause of the women at the national level were incorporated as members. Besides it also appointed appropriate authorities for the implementation of the Act at various levels. A multi member State Appropriate Authority was appointed at the state level and Senior Medical Officers were appointed at the Sub Divisional level Hospitals. Besides, Civil Surgeons were also appointed at the district level. Inter district inspections by the Civil Surgeons have now been undertaken to nab the violators of the PNDT Act and surprise inspections are also being carried out by the State Officers so as to cross check the enforcement of the Act in various parts of the State. Enforcement of the PNDT Act in the districts is reviewed every month at various levels.

CM’s intervention paid off  

Also following the directions of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the Deputy Commissioners have been regularly holding meetings with the ultrasonologists. To keep a tab on the progress, monitoring of sex-ratio has been listed as an agenda item during the monthly meetings at the district level. Advisory Committees have also been constituted at the district level and sub-divisional level. A State Supervisory Board under the Chairmanship of Health Minister has also been formed.

In a bid to keep a tab on the functioning of ultrasounds the government has also registered ultra sounds centres and more than 1330 ultrasound and genetic centres have been registered in the state.

Awareness drive

Hoardings mentioning about the important clauses of the PC & PNDT Act have been displayed at different places. Besides messages and slogans for saving girl child and the important provisions of the PNDT Act have also been displayed on Bus side panels of Punjab Roadways and PRTC Buses. Also advertisements making an appeal to doctors,
journalists, law enforcers and politicians are regularly being given through the regional newspapers for seeking support for the cause of the girl-child. As a part of plan the government printed and published more than   40000 posters all over the the state.

Action under law 

More than 100 court cases and FIRs have been launched in the state for violation of the PNDT Act. In addition action has been taken against more than 300 centers. Their registration has either been suspended or cancelled. There has also been conviction in many cases.

What is PNDTA and how it came to effect

In a bid to keep a check on the dwindling female sex ratio due to rampant female foeticide on the basis of sex determination, the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act was enacted in 1994 and was given effect in January 1996. This Act was aimed at regulating the use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for detecting genetic and metabolic disorders, chromosomal abnormalities, certain congenital malformations and/or sex linked disorders. The Act was latewr amended in 2003.

However the techniques were otherwise being used for pre-natal determination of sex of the foetus leading to misuse through female foeticide.