Reconstituted , Central Supervisory Board Under PNDT Act

A SHAKTI VAHINI RESEARCH INITIATIVE

The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad has reconstituted the Central Supervisory Board (CSB) under Section 7 of the Pre-conception & Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 (PC & PNDT Act).

The CSB under Chairmanship of the Minister-in-charge of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India and Minister (in charge) Deptt. of Women and Child Development as Co- chair consists of ex – officio members; ten non official members – two each from five categories of medical geneticists, gynaecologists and obstetricians, paediatricians, social scientists and representatives of women welfare organizations; three Women Members of Parliament (two from Lok Sabha and one from Rajya Sabha); four members to be appointed by the Central Govt. by rotation to represent the States and the UTs – two in the alphabetical order and two in reverse alphabetical order (for a term of one year) and Special invitees to the meeting.

Accordingly the new Board will have the following thirty five names – Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister of Health & F.W. – Chairman; Smt. Krishna Tirath, MOS (I/c) (Women & Child Development) – Co-Chair; Shri K. Chandramouli, Secretary, Ministry of Health & F.W. – Vice-Chairman; Dr. R.K. Srivastava, DGHS; Joint Secretary & Legal Advisor, Department of Legal Affairs, M/o Law & Justice; Adviser (Ayurveda), Department of AYUSH and Joint Secretary (PNDT) as the Member-Secretary of the CSB. The Non – official members will be – Dr. Girija Wagh, Jt. Secy., Chaitanya, Karve Nagar, Pune; Dr. Gayatri Thaker, Gynaecologist & Obstretician Siddhivinayak Hospital, Jamnagar, Gujarat; Dr.Bani Sarkar, HOD. Dept.of Obstretics and Gynaecology, Dr.Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi; Dr. Sanjay Anant Gupte, former President, FOGSI, Mumbai; Dr. V. K. Paul, Prof. & Head, Department of Paediatrics, AIIMS, New Delhi; Ms. Ravinder Kaur, Professor, Sociology and Social Anthropology, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi; Dr. Rajiv Yeravdekar, Director, Symbiosis Institute of Health Sciences & Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Symbiosis International University, Pune; Prof. D. M. Diwakar, Director, A. N. Sinha Institute of Social Sciences, Patna; Dr.Neelam Singh, Secretary, Vatsalya, Lucknow; Shri Subhash Mendhapurkar, Director, Society For Social Uplift Through Rural Action (SUTRA), Jagjit Nagar, Himachal Pradesh.

The three women MPs on the Board will be Dr.(Smt). Prabha Kishore Taviad, Smt. Poonamben Veljibhai Jat and Smt. Mabel Rebello. The four Sate/UT representatives would be Secretary (Health & FW), Govt. of Delhi; Secretary (Health & FW), Govt. of Kerala; Secretary (Health & FW), Govt. of Punjab and Secretary (Health & FW), Govt. of Rajasthan. Special invitees on the Board would be President, Indian Radiological & Imaging Association; Secretary- General, Indian Medical Association; Dr. P.C. Mahapatra, President, FOGSI, Mumbai; Ms. Brinda Karat, MP; Secretary (Health & FW), Government of J&K, Secretary (Health & FW), Govt. of Haryana, Secretary (Health & FW), Govt. of Gujarat, Secretary (Health & FW), Govt. of Himachal Pradesh; Ms. Zohra Chatterjee, Member-Secretary – National Commission for Women; Dr. Neelam Singh, Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Ms. Ina Singh, UNFPA Representative in India.

The term of office of a member, other than ex-officio member, shall be normally three years. No member other than an ex-officio member shall be appointed for more than two consecutive terms. The functions of the Board include – to advise the Central Government on policy matters relating to use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques, sex selection techniques and against their misuse; to review and monitor implementation of the Act and rules made thereunder and recommend to the Central Government changes in the said Act and rules; to create public awareness against the practice of pre-conception sex selection and pre-natal determination of sex of foetus leading to female foeticide; to lay down code of conduct to be observed by persons working at Genetic Counseling Centres, Genetic Laboratories and Genetic Clinics; to oversee the performance of various bodies constituted under the Act and take appropriate steps to ensure its proper and effective implementation. The first meeting of the reconstituted Board is likely to be held in the last week of May 2011. Prior to that, a review meeting of State Health Secretaries has been scheduled on the 20th April 2011 for an in-depth review of the implementation of the PC & PNDT Act and to chalk out a concerted action plan to check the practice of sex selection leading to female foeticide.

The recent census figures highlighted the declining trend in Child Sex Ratio in the country. In order to check female foeticide, the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 (PNDT Act), was brought into operation from 1st January, 1996. The Act was amended to make it more comprehensive and was renamed as “Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994” (PC & PNDT Act). The amended Act and Rules framed there under came into force with effect from 14.2.2003. The main objective of the Act/Rules is to ban the use of sex selection techniques before or after conception as well as misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex selective abortions and to regulate such techniques, so as to pre-empt the misuse of such technologies and consequent adverse impact on the sex ratio.

Stringent punishments are prescribed under the Act so as to serve as a deterrent for minimising violations of the Act. Appropriate Authorities are empowered with the powers of Civil Court for search, seizure and sealing the machines, equipment and records of the violators of law, including sealing of premises and commissioning of witnesses. It has been made mandatory to maintain proper records in respect of the use of ultrasound machines and other equipment capable of detection of sex of foetus and also in respect of tests and procedures that may lead to pre-conception selection of sex. The sale of ultrasound machines has been regulated through laying down the condition of sale only to the bodies registered under the Act.

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One thought on “Reconstituted , Central Supervisory Board Under PNDT Act

  1. RADICAL CHANGES NECESSARY FOR IMMIDEATE LY STOPPING SEX DETERMINATION & PREVENTING FEMALE FETICIDE ,ALONG WITH DRASTIC DECREASE IN IMR & NND.
    DR MANDAKNALLI L D PHYSICIAN,ASHWIN HOSP,NIRA,PUNE. 09552164961.

    As noted by various figures made public it is evident that female population is decreasing,more sharply in recent years,perticularly in o-5 yrs group.This is obviously due to increase in sex determination & selective female feticide.ONE THING TO BE NOTED HERE IS THE FEMALE POPULATION HAS DECREASED MORE SHARPLY AFTER IMPLEMENTATION OF PC-PNDT LAW,hence more shocking.We have to come to a realistic conclusion why this happened,results after implementation of PC-PNDT are even more discouraging.Is it faulty law,faulty implementation of law or something else.
    Basically three elements are involved for this declining female population in the society,first & the foremost & important is seekers for sex determination & demanding female feticide,that is pregnant lady & their family members,next is the people from health sector service providers who conduct sex determination & termination of female fetus,which may be by qualified/unqualified,registered/unregistered service provider.Third is the law enforsers of PC-PNDT act.
    In the present law & view of the law enforcing authorities ,shutting down or taking action against erring health service providers is the target,but it has not yielded expected results & if implemented in its existing form it will never result in expected results of increasing female population & reducing fetal sex determination & female feticide, because in its existing form nothing is done to prevent potential seekers for dissuading from sex determination & termination of female fetus.. For this our approach has to be preventing sex determination & termination it & not punishing after violation of the act that is after female feticide.By taking action on erring service providers which have terminated female fetus are we saving female fetuses,no,we have to prevent them before they are terminated,hence frame aggressive rules & methods to prevent sex determination & termination of female fetus .For this we have to focus on service seekers & service providers with twin steps of prevention & stringent action against erring seekers & erring service providers well before they terminate the female fetus.Here more emphasis should be on identifying potential seekers for sex determination of the fetus from the society & counseling them at first to prevent sex determination & if donot comply & go ahead eith sex determination and/or termination of pregnancy, stringent punishment provisions to the entire family be made.If pregnant lady & family is convinced to continue pregnancy & avoid sex determination she can be consider for reward for delivering baby. Potential sex determination seekers have to approach a healthcare provider for sex determination,it is here you can take the help of health care providesr to dissuade a potential seeker from sex determination,you can collect this data from healthcare provider in a secrete manner & give it to a authority who can follow up & dissuade them against fetal sex determination. It will also encourage those health providers who sincearly wants to comply with implementation of the PC-PNDT act.Here I propose following steps with a policy of carrot & stick approach which will reduce female feticide & also will help in reducing maternal & infant mortality rate from day 1 of implementation.Another way is to ensure all pregnant woman to complete full term & deliver live baby irrespective of sex of the fetus & any unexplained pregnancy loss should be treated as violation of PC_PNDT act & entire family be punished with stringent punishment & other disincentives against the family can also be worked up.Concerned appropriate authority will be entrusted to ensure full term delivary of all pregnant woman under his jurisdiction,he will be held accountable,responsible & liable for punishment for any unexplained pregnancy losses.All necessary infrastructure & man power can be given to him.

    TECHNICAL STEPS FOR IMMIDEATE STOPPING OF FEMALE FETICIDE & ENSURE MALE TO FEMALE POPULATION RATIO,IN TURN ALSO CONTROL MATERNAL MORTALITY RATE & INFANT MORTALITY RATE.
    1.Enrol all pregnant woman after early diagnosis.(Within 10 weeks).Can be done through Asha, anm,Supervisor,MO.
    2.Issue a mediclaim policy( Govt sponsored) to pregnant women covering antenatal, intranatal & postnatal services.Also include coverage for the child upto 1 yr.This will ensure succeeful antenatal opd care,institutional delivaries & cover the child for 1 yr including congenital anamolis. This will benefit in reducing MMR & IMR
    3.Mediclaim policy be implemented through smart cards with biometric identification & SIMULTATEOUSLY HAVING ELECTRONIC TRACKING SYSTEM,to trace pregnant womans movements during coverage period.
    4.All ANC,NC & PNC services will be provided through designated recognized centres Govt & Pvt,only through smartcard,which should be connected to STATE ANC REGISTRY ONLINE.Here without proper registration & giving necessary information to registry further services will not be able to deliver.(soft ware programme designed such that if the registry is not provided necessary information we cannot proceed to next level.)
    6.Stringent punishment against couple & family members seeking sex detection should be made,but before that as soon as she becomes pregnant she must be sensitized & counselled.This is required because we donot want the seekers for SD in society,& our primayr aim is preventing sex detection & prevention of female feticide& not punishment.
    One of the rules that could work is TADA like act against couples & family members for those who have unexplained pregnancy loss between 12-34 weeks. At present we are focusing only on taking action against erring doctors,we donot have mechanism to counsel or punish sex determination seeking couples,a separate mechanism should be evolved for this purpose.
    .For stringent enforcement of the act a limited emergency be declared for this purpose.Govt officials enforcing the act should persuade preservation of pregnancy & ending in safe birth.

    Now I come to separate topic of discussion which never started . Cases were booked against erring service providers that is sonologists & doctors,a few were convicted but inspite of that female feticide continued by punished centres & female sex ratio worsened, Dr Nagne from pune who was convicted by court ,his registration of MMC cancelled still continues to be in Govt job,how do you explain this,
    as appropriate authorities were interested only in their personnel gains .All booked service providers were seen to have continued doing fetal sex determination & termination,even though these centres were sealed,is it possible without the involvement of appropriate authorities,definitely not,they have their own interest,hence it is obvious that they work in collusion with erring service providers. Here I propose to give a target for conserving all pregnancies in their area by AA,& any unexplained loss of pregnancy,AA should be held responsible & if found negligence in implementing the act he should be punished stringently with termination of job or cancellation of MMC registration,or imprisonment with special provisions to be made in the PC PNDT act. Stringent punishment provisions also be made in PC-PNDT act against promoters,marketing agents,commission agents ,illegally drug providers,body disposal assistants & any one else found assisting in any form.
    One more thing to look out for after strict implementation & compliance is possible increase in female infanticide,abandoning female child & negligence & torture of girl child & increased domestic violence against mother with female children or other reaction of the male child dominated society. Also look out for unwarranted harassment of sonography centres not involved in these unlawful activities,in fact some are helping to implement these rules.

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