The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad today convened a meeting of Ministers of Health, Health Secretaries and other senior officers from the 18 States where declining child sex ratio has been a matter of concern as apparent from the recent census figures. The 18 states include Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Karnataka.
Opening the meeting Shri Azad said that today’s meeting has important bearings for the future of the nation as the declining child sex ratio in most of the States is a matter of grave national concern. Shri Azad said there is urgent need to arrest the gender imbalance. “Proper implementation of the PC & PNDT Act and deliberation on the steps are required to be taken to address this grave challenge by the States”, he said. “The 2011 Provisional Census figures have served as a wake-up call for all of us. The misuse of medical technology for pre birth sex selection is evidently increasing” he noted as the number of girls in the age group of 0-6 years now stands at a mere 914 for every 1000 boys. The Minister said all necessary steps; political, social, economic and scientific, need to be taken to end negative discrimination against the girl child. The role that Information, Education and Communication (IEC) can play in building a positive environment for valuing the girl child can hardly be over-emphasized. “Though the PC & PNDT Act is a central legislation, it’s implementation lies entirely with the States who are expected to enforce it through District Appropriate Authorities at the State, District and Sub-district levels”. Shri Azad asked all States to appoint the Appropriate Authorities and also monitor their functioning as also conduct systematic inspections and overall monitoring of doctors and clinics registered under the Act. Shri Azad urged the States to ensure proper utilization of the funding under NRHM for setting up dedicated PNDT cells at the State and district levels to strengthen capacity to enforce the PC & PNDT Act.
. The Union Minister also urged the States to implement the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram in true letter and spirit so that the poor, needy and vulnerable sections of our society are brought into the institutional fold and their out of pocket expenses are eliminated.