New Delhi: The Indian Women’s Press Corps on Tuesday expressed concern over Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi’s statement on registering sex of the foetus, saying it will go against the “Beti Bachao” campaign.
The Beti Bachao (Save Daughter) campaign is a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that promotes education and equal status for the girl child.
The IWPC, in a statement, expressed “concern and dismay over the reported proposal to make sex determination tests legal”.
“While the government too wants in all its earnestness to address the declining sex ratio and child sex ratio, any proposal to make sex determination tests legal will be counterproductive to the Beti Bachao campaign of the government and will not address the problem at all,” the statement said.
“It would give a licence and fillip to all those who believe in male child preference and to those who practice it medically and gain from it commercially,” it said.
The women journalists’ organisation said any move to alter the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act in this direction can only be regressive.
“We urge you to take measures to ensure compliance with the Act and to penalise those who conduct the tests and take advantage of the societal bias towards the male child. It is because there are unscrupulous practitioners in the medical community that the child sex ratio still does not show remarkable levels of improvement.”
Inaugurating the All India Regional Editors’ Conference in Jaipur on February 1, the minister said that in her view, a pregnant woman should be compulsorily told whether the foetus is a male or female. The fact should then be registered to enable tracking of deliveries.
The ministry, however, clarified on Tuesday and said some news reports about Gandhi’s remarks were “factually incorrect”.
“Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said there is an alternate point of view that if each pregnancy could be registered and the sex of the foetus made known to parents and if it happens to be a female, the delivery should be tracked and recorded.
“Such a system will help ensure that a foetus is not aborted only because it is a female,” said the statement issued on Tuesday.