Rajasthan deploys spies to curb pre-natal tests
The Rajasthan government is building a network of professional informers to keep an eye on ultrasound clinics that conduct sex determination tests. For each lead, an informer will be paid Rs.25,000.
Jaipur: Alarmed over the state`s dismal sex ratio, the Rajasthan government is building a network of professional informers to keep an eye on ultrasound clinics that conduct sex determination tests. For each lead, an informer will be paid Rs.25,000.
Not only that, if the crime is proven in the court, the informer gets another Rs.25,000.
Previously, an individual was given Rs.5,000 if his complaint against an errant ultrasound clinic was found to be true.
According to Census 2011, Rajasthan has 883 girls between the ages of 0-6 for every 1,000 boys in the same age group. The child sex ratio in 2001 was 909 per 1,000 males.
"It is a very alarming situation. To ensure participation of general public in our campaign against erring ultrasound clinics, we have launched this initiative," a senior medical and health department officer said on condition of anonymity.
"Each informer will be paid Rs.25,000 on information regarding such an ultrasound clinic and if the person found involved in the sex determination test is proved guilty in the court, the informer will get another Rs.25,000 after the trial," the officer added.
He said that some of the districts have already started deploying people for this purpose. Right now, it`s not clear how many such informers will be deployed in each district.
The government is also in the process of increasing the number of health department inspection teams which check records at ultrasound clinics and act on complaints of pre-natal sex determination tests.
Rajasthan has only one state-level health department team. "We have decided to increase the number of teams to four and equip them with hidden cameras and voice recorders," said the officer.
"These teams will have exclusive authority to raid clinics offering ultrasound scanning services and look for evidence of pre-natal sex determination tests," the officer added.
He said legal action is taken against errant clinics under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT Act). "But proving them guilty under the act is generally difficult," he said.
"But now these teams will record everything using the devices while an inspection is carried out. The evidence gathered by using these devices will help us prosecute these clinics properly," said the officer.
While addressing a workshop in Jaipur recently, NGO Shikshit Rozgra Kendra Prabandhak Samiti secretary Rajan Choudhary had pointed out that Jaipur has the highest number of sonography and abortion centres.
Choudhary alleged that about 300 female foetuses were aborted every day in Rajasthan after sex determination tests.
According to him, during April 2010 to March 2011, a total of 13,36,505 children were born in Rajasthan -- 7,08,383 males and 6,28,122 females -- a sex ratio of 887.
Choudhary said that over 1,800 sonography centres were functioning in Rajasthan and out of them, 1,000 regularly violate the PCPNDT Act.
"Jaipur is the biggest mandi (hub) in Rajasthan for sex determination and murder of female foetuses in the womb," he said.
It was also pointed out at the workshop that 50 percent of the 600 sonography centres in Jaipur had never been inspected. Sting operations have revealed that these centres are always willing to conduct sex determination tests.
"If the informer scheme is implemented properly, then it would certainly help to curb this heinous act. The state government should be serious in its implementation," Nitisha Sharma of NGO Inaya Foundation told reporters.
Rajasthan`s Jhunjhunu district has the worst child sex ratio in the state at 831 girls per 1,000 males.