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.
- AUDIO: Pre-natal depression made me hate myself (bbc.co.uk)
- March for India`s Missing girls, March for Mitu (savedaughters19.wordpress.com)
- Unsafe inside and outside womb (mediacoalition.wordpress.com)
- Decreasing Sex Ratio in the Country (equalityindia.wordpress.com)
- Issue Brief on Lokpal Bill (indialawyers.wordpress.com)