Problem Definition

Death before birth
Declining Sex Ratio & Female Feticide
According to the statistics, nearly 10 million female fetuses have been aborted in the India over the past two decades. Of the 12 million girls born in India, one million do not see their first birthdays.Ironically, it all happens in a country where the girl is seen as an incarnation of Goddess 'Laxmi' butsadly, there have been numerous incidents of the fetus being found lying in farms, floating in rivers, wrapped up in jute bags etc.And more heart wrenching is the fact that the aborted fetuses were very often fed to dogs.

Above image clearly indicates the sudden decline in the sex ratio since last three decades across India. There are only 914 girls are bourn against 1000 boys.

Since 1991, 80% of the districts in India have shown decline in the sex ratio.

Nobel laureate AmartyaSen estimated that "37 million women had already "gone missing" in India"

Demand for a Boy over Girl

There is a demand for a boy over girl due to various reasons. The marriage system includes dowry, caste, trend of lavish marriage, honor of family, social insecurity, the religious myths such as "moksha", lean age, family name, family wealth & many more. Currently the states like Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan etc. are facing sever problems, where 3-4 brother buying and marring a single woman. Increase in violence against woman, increase in rape cases is one of the outcome of missing girls from the society. The parents fear to have a girl child due to insecurity for the woman in the society.

Ultrasound Technology

Ultrasound machines are commonly misused for determination of the sex of the fetus followed by female feticide
Prior to invention of ultrasound techniques, the girls were killed brutally after their birth, as there was no method to determine the sex of the fetus. The problem increased drastically especially after introduction of Ultrasonography technology in India. Past three decades this technology has reached to almost all parts of India. The misuse of this technology has increased the problem by early sex determination followed by millions of girls aborted every year in India.
"The client is conniving with the doctor, so it's obviously not going to get reported. For her, it may be an individual choice or family pressure but for the doctor, it's purely about profits,"
The fetal sex determination and selective abortion by unethical medical professionals has today grown into a Rs 1,000 Crore industry (US$244 million)

PCPNDT ACT

The Government of India has enacted by forming the PCPNDT Act (Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act), to target the medical profession - the 'supply side' of the practice of sex selection. The Act defines the guidelines from registration of ultrasound center, record keeping of every obstetric ultrasound performed, containing details of the pregnant woman, details of the referrals, result of the ultrasound, & details of the medical professional, procedures to submit the records to the authorities and so on. However non-implementation of the Act has been the biggest failing of the campaign against sex selection. Here are some important facts about the implementation of the PCPNDT Act-

  • Inadequate case preparation by Authorities
  • Complex nature of crime
  • Withdrawal of cases
  • Very few cases filed so far
  • Most cases filed under 'non-registration of clinics'
  • Witnesses turning hostile
  • Lack of awareness among judiciary and public prosecutors
  • No designated court
  • Penalty not harsh enough

Other than this, the authorities are facing problem due to lack of system for effective implementation of the Act -

  • No Complainant
  • The crime takes place hand in glove with the pregnant woman, her family and few unethical medical professionals being the consenting parties; hence there is no complainer. The complainer, which is the female foetus is yet to be born!

  • Lack of Data with the Government
  • The government officials do not have real-time digital data. All the reports are submitted on 5th of every month in manual forms wasting time and Government do not have adequate human resources

  • No evidence
  • Current manual system cannot generate the evidence of the ultrasound, pregnancy status or similar to link to the sex selective ultrasound due to under reporting or false reporting

  • Harassment to the medical professionals
  • The Authorities are left with no option but then to file cases based on the incomplete documentation, which cannot be linked to the sex determination

  • Misuse of MTP Act(Medically Terminated Pregnancy Act)
  • The Indian women have the right to abortion by this MTP Act. It is found that this Act is largely misused to abort the female fetus in sex selective cases.

"Only 21% cases are filed against the sex determination charge, rest are on the basis of noncompliance of rules of the act".

It is difficult to imagine the world without women. The current declined sex ratio figures are taking us to that direction. If not done now, it will be lost. It is affecting an entire generation and creating imbalance to the entire society.