Reward scheme for reporting sex-determination scans performed in violation of the Act.
by Ajay Justice Shaw
The Indian government's efforts to curb female foeticide and arrest the declining sex ratio in the country have led to the implementation of a reward scheme under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostics Technique (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994.
The Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostics Technique (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to stop female foeticide and arrest the declining sex ratio in India. It bans the misuse of prenatal diagnostic techniques for sex-selective abortion and regulates the use of such techniques by making them accountable and punishable. The Act includes provisions for the establishment of a Central Supervisory Board, State Supervisory Boards, Appropriate Authorities, and Registration and Regulation of Genetic Counselling Centres, Genetic Laboratories, and Genetic Clinics.
Under Section 16A and Section 17(4) of the PCPNDT Act, any state may initiate an Informer Scheme, where the informer or decoy patient may receive rewards for carrying out a sting operation. The respective State Supervisory Boards determine the introduction of the Informer Scheme, the reward's magnitude, the reward's recipient, and other aspects. Usually, the Informer Scheme is introduced in states where the sex ratio is poor or has drastically decreased, and the state government takes this measure to improve it and ensure gender equality.
The Informer Scheme allows citizens to act as informers and report the criminal offense of sex selection to the appropriate authorities, who can then take necessary action. The scheme has been introduced in several Indian states, including Rajasthan, Odisha, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana, where the sex ratio is poor or has drastically decreased. The scheme has had a positive impact on sex ratio figures in several states, especially in the state of Rajasthan.
Schemes introduced by the following state’s authoritative body:
Rajasthan: According to the 2011 Census, the Sex Ratio of the state of Rajasthan stood at 888 females per 1,000 males, which is abysmal. The Rajasthan Government introduced the Mukhbir Yojna scheme in 2012, providing an incentive of 3 lakh rupees in two instalments to the informer, decoy pregnant woman, and her companion for a successful decoy operation in the ratio of 2:2:1. The informer & decoy pregnant women will receive Rs. 60,000, while the companion will receive Rs. 30,000 in one instalment. According to official data, the state's sex ratio-at-birth figures have increased by 42 points in the last five years. The numbers for the 2015-16 period stood at 929 women per 1,000 males.
Odisha: The sex ratio at birth for children born in the last five years (females per 1,000 males) was 894 in 2020-21, which was 932 in 2015-16 and 963 in 2005-06 (Source: National Family Health Survey NFHS-5).
The Odisha State Government issued a set of guidelines for ‘Informer Incentive Scheme’ in 2022 to reward people for sharing information on illegal sex-determination. The informer would receive a cash award of Rs. 25,000 in three instalments. The informer would receive Rs. 10,000 in the first instalment after verification of the information's correctness, and the second instalment of Rs. 10,000 would be given after filing the prosecution report. The remaining Rs. 5,000 would be released after the accused is convicted. Moreover, the informant's identity and other aspects will not be disclosed at any given point in time.
Delhi: In Delhi’s case, sex-ratio witnessed consistent fall between 2014 and 2017. Government data showed, it was recorded at 876 (females per 1,000 males) in 2014, 869 in 2015, 857 in 2016 and 850 in 2017, before rising to 899 in 2018 and 920 in 2019.
A reward of Rs. 50,000 would be given to an informer for communicating about the unregistered or registered centre or machine and any other violation of the Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 (PC-PNDT Act). An incentive or reward amount of Rs. 1,50,000 will be given to a decoy pregnant woman (decoy customer) on the successful completion of sting operation. A sum Rs. 50,000 is to be given to a decoy patient in the event of unsuccessful decoy operation, to compensate the decoy patient for her efforts, time and for the overall success of scheme. However, the informer shall not be compensated in any form in case of an unsuccessful decoy operation. This scheme was introduced in the year 2019.
Uttar Pradesh: Sex Ratio in Uttar Pradesh is 912 i.e., for each 1000 male, which is below national average of 940 as per census 2011.
The Informer Scheme was launched by the State Government in 2017. Under this scheme, a decoy pregnant women will receive 1 lakh rupees and her companion will receive Rs. 40,000. The informer communicating the violation of PCPNDT Act will receive Rs. 60,000 in three instalments on completion of sting operation, admission in Court and conviction.
Haryana: As per 2011 Census, the Sex Ratio stood at 876 women against 1000 males. However, by NFHS 5 (2020-21), it improved to 926, while the sex ratio at birth recorded an increase from 836 (2015-16) to 893 (2020-21).
The state government in Haryana announced in 2015 that informers of illegal sex-determination tests would be paid a cash reward of 1 lakh rupees - doubling the Informer Scheme reward announced previously in July 2014. If somebody gives information of sex-determination or female elimination and the information is found correct then based on that information, if the offender is successfully caught and it is prime facie (FIR/court cases under PNDT) established that he/she was indulged in the illegal activity of sex determination or female elimination, the informer will be given an incentive of 1 lakh rupees as cash in single instalment as fast as possible.
However, India still faces gender inequality issues, with at least nine million female births "missing" between 2000 and 2019 due to sex-selective abortions, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.
To combat the evil of sex-selective abortion, ADF India’s Vanishing Girls campaign works with several like-minded allies, state government bodies, public prosecutors, legal and civic bodies, social activists, medical professionals and ASHA workers to provide legal support as well as training to ensure acts have been implemented to protect the Girl Child are implemented effectively and adhered to strictly.
For any information further on the Informer Scheme, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ajay Justice Shaw is an allied lawyer with ADF India. After serving in the Indian Army for four years, he studied law at the prestigious Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi. He regularly appears in the High Courts and the Supreme Court of India with special interest in human rights. He is passionate about legal awareness, the rule of law, minority rights, refugee rights and environmental sustainability. He has completed his LLM in Property law from the Tamil Nadu Ambedkar Law University.