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Saturday, May 12, 2001

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Measures to prevent female foeticide

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, MAY 11. The Centre today decided to strengthen the measures to prevent female foeticide in the wake of the recent Census, which has clearly brought out that the adverse male- female sex ratio has only worsened over the past decade in the zero-to-six age group.

The measures proposed include compulsory registration of ultrasound clinics, nursing homes and laboratories and amendment of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act to automatically cover newer technologies that could be misused for sex determination as and when they get into the market.

A meeting of the Central Supervisory Board set up under the chairmanship of the Union Health Minister, Dr. C.P.Thakur, for the review of the implementation of the legislation, decided to launch a campaign to create public awareness about the dangers being posed to the social fabric of the country, because of the continuing preference for male child.

Taking grave note of the Census finding that the adverse sex ratio was more glaring in the affluent States like Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, the meeting decided that all ultrasound clinics should display boards mentioning that they do not conduct sex determination tests on foetus.

Speaking to presspersons after the meeting, Dr. Thakur said a panel would soon be set up to work out the details of the amendments to the PNDT Act.

It would, among other things, review the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and other similar laws that have a direct bearing on the issue of sex ratio to bring about coherence.

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