Pune: For a city known to be the first in the country to establish a school for girls, Pune has registered a sharp drop in the sex ratio in just six months!
The sex ratio in Pune has dropped from 934 to 909 girls born per 1,000 boys born in this period. The six monthly sex ratio released by the State government shows that the city’s performance in ensuring a healthy sex ratio is deplorable, which points towards an increase in sex selective abortions.
The sex ratio in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) limits has dropped by 91 girls. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) carried out during 2015-2016, there were 991 girls against 1,000 boys. The statistic for Maharashtra was 952 and that of Pune district was 953. According to the State government, 907 girls were born in Maharashtra per 1,000 boys in 2015 and in 2016, the number reduced to 899.
Protest by radiologists
Pune radiologists went on an indefinite strike on June 13 last year to protest against the alleged high handedness of the PMC authorities under the PCPNDT Act.
Dr Shailesh Kore, President of the Maharashtra state chapter of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) said that the protest was against the unnecessary complaints against trivial technicalities in the law. “Many doctors were arrested and their cases were kept pending for issues like doctor wasn’t wearing an apron. Such trivial details in the law make it difficult for us to work and so we arranged a protest. We support girl child and have worked and will work for the collective welfare of society,” said Kore.
Activist Varsha Deshpande said that the authorities do not communicate in the right direction. “The government authorities do not have a single platform to start a concentrated effort to increase this number or even to maintain it. Hence, we can see a decline,” said Deshpande.
Dr Vashali Jadhav, in-charge of PMC’s Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) cell, said, “In 2014, we took action against six doctors (for disclosing the gender of fetus) and in 2015 the number was eight. However, in 2016, there has been only one registered case and this year there has been none so far,” said Jadhav.
‘Responsibility must be collective’
A source in the health department, under the condition of anonymity, said that the department is unable find women volunteers for a decoy operation to identify doctors involved in sex selection. “Not all decoy operations are successful and so the department doesn’t not divulge information of the operations that go unsuccessful. The doctors also do not share the information of those who are illegally involved in sex selection. And so those who are responsible malign the name of the entire fraternity,” said the source.
Speaking about the responsibility of society towards the girl child, women’s activist Kiran Moghe said that this is everyone’s battle and should not be restricted to the administration of women activists. “The doctors are commercially motivated to do sex selection. We often just blame the government for its inaction in taking strict legal steps to ensure that no girl child is killed. But it should be a collective measure that every girl lives. The society has to reflect on how a daughter is different from sons. Women have proved themselves in every sphere of life and the society hence should start thinking about this,” said Moghe.