The Child Sex Ratio across the country has been on a decline after the last Census in 2011, where Delhi only having 871 girls for every 1000 boy. This implies that there is a dire need for strict implementation of the PCPNDT (Prohibition of Sex Selection) 1994 Act across Delhi.
To highlight the importance for an effective implementation of the PCPNDT Act, ADF India’s Vanishing Girls Campaign And Girls Count In Collaboration With Directorate Of Family Welfare, Health & Family Welfare Department, GNCT Of Delhi, organized a day-long training for the District Appropriate Authorities as well as the District Nodal Officers (PNDT) on the ‘Standard Operating Guidelines’ and the ‘Code of Conduct’ to be observed by them under the PCPNDT Act on 26th July 2019 at India International Centre, New Delhi.
The Chief Guest for the program, Hon’ble Health Minister of Delhi, Shri. Satyendra Kumar Jain will deliver the keynote address. Other speakers include Mr. Sanjay Parikh, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India; Mr. Uday Warunjikar, Advocate, Bombay High Court; Mrs. Varsha Deshpande Advocate, Lekh Ladki Abhiyan; Ms. Ifat Hamid, Consultant (Gender), PNDT Division, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India. They will speak on ‘Demystifying the PCPNDT Act’ and the ‘Standard Operating Guidelines’. Anushree Bernard, Coordinator for the Vanishing Girls Campaign who will be moderating the day-long program states that “an enhanced implementation of the PCPNDT Act across Delhi will ensure that all girls will have the chance to live, dream and succeed”.
Speaking at the day-long training program, Shri Satyendar Jain, Hon’ble Health Minister, Government of NCT of Delhi asked the District Appropriate Authorities and the District Nodal Officers (PNDT) to take their roles seriously in implementing the PCPNDT Act. The Minister felt sad that Delhi is listed third from the bottom in the list of child sex ratio in India. He stated that the practice of sex determination and sex-selective abortions are rampant among the rich and affluent families in Delhi especially South Delhi that has one of the lowest child sex ratios among all the eleven districts in Delhi. He urged the officials under the PCPNDT department to be stringent and suspend the faltering clinics and doctors as prescribed under the Act.
Four sessions on technical training on unpacking sections of the law, recent amendments, code of conduct for appropriate authorities, registration of centers, an inspection of centers, search, seizure, and sealing of the diagnostic centers, the conduct of decoy, and, filing a case.
Mr. Sanjay Parikh, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, exclaimed “It is a genocide,” during his technical training session with the District Appropriate Authorities and the District Nodal Officers. He noted that unless the appropriate authorities and nodal officers do not take any action, no groundwork will be achieved.
Dr. Adv. Uday Prakash Warunjikar, Vice President, Bar Association of India, highlighted in his training that implementation of the law has been slow. While the technology is now allowing gender to be tailored before the pregnancy via IVFs and other medical advancements, the authorities are still struggling to regulate illegal gender reveal via sonography ie. Ultra-sound scans.
Adv. Varsha Deshpande reiterated that if the authorities implement the law in the right manner, millions of our girl-child will be saved and the change in the child sex ratio will be achieved for sure. She shared her practical experience of implementing the PCPNDT in the state of Maharashtra.
Ms. Ifat Hamid, Consultant (Gender), Ministry of Health& Family Welfare Division, Govt. of India shared about the operating guidelines related to the 6-month training on the PCPNDT act that the state governments across India should provide to the diagnosticians and doctors.
Dr. Nutan Mundeja, Chairperson, State Appropriate Authority, Delhi & Director, DFW, Govt. of NCT of Delhi had earlier noted in her welcome note that the families who choose to commit gender-based feticide affect not only these families but the larger community of the state of Delhi.
In her closing remark, she said, “As the Delhi government we are happy to be able to conduct this workshop. It gave an opportunity to our District Appropriate Authorities and the District Nodal Officers (PNDT) to interact with experts on the matter and gave us a chance to hear them out on the issues they face in the implementation of the act. We look forward to further strengthen the implementation with the help of those who want to come along…”
Mr. Rizwan of Girls Count noted,” this kind of collaboration and training was much needed because last 3 years we have seen the implementation of the PCPNDT act as not been so effective in Delhi, …the sample registration system data is declining towards 850 girls… and that’s why we think that it is important to encourage the district officials and give them the support that the civil society can provide. We want to implement the PCNDT Act in a collaborative manner in Delhi and this was the motive of this consultation.”
Ms. Anushree Bernard of the Vanishing Girls campaign said, “Changing mindsets alone cannot improve the declining Child Sex ratio. We need a fierce implementation of the PCPNDT Act to ensure that the perpetrators who conduct sex determination do not getaway”