Odisha: State Advisory Board Expresses Concern over Declining Sex Ratio

Bhubaneswar: The State Advisory Board for implementation of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC & PNDT) has expressed concern over declining sex ratio in certain parts of Odisha. The Board members, who met here on Saturday, have decided to mount efforts to prevent female foeticide.

The advisory Board meeting chaired by Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Damodar Rout, decided that PCPNDT centres would be opened in all the districts for effective implementation of the PCPNDTAct. Currently, four such centres are in operation in as many districts with support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). With help from the National Rural Health Mission, 10 more centres would be opened shortly.

Subsequently, all the districts would be covered. As per 2001 Census, the sex ratio in Odisha stood at 953 but fell to 941 in 2011. Districts such as Nayagarh, Angul, Cuttack, Dhenkanal and Ganjam remained the cause of concern with very low sex ratio. As per 2011 census, the sex ratio in Nayagarh is 855:1000 followed by 877 in Dhenkanal, 889 in Angul, 908 in Ganjam and 914 in Cuttack.

However, lately, there has been improvement in the scenario due to strict implementation of PCPNDT Act. The Minister said there is a need for spreading awareness among women against female feoticide and called for participation of women self help groups (SHGs) in the exercise.

As part of its measures to prevent sex determination which leads to foeticide, the Government has been cracking down on ultra-sound clinics that indulge in such practices. During 2011-12, raids were conducted on 37 ultra sound clinics and six of these were sealed. Case were registered against four clinics. In 2012-13, as many as 35 clinics were inspected by the Health Department teams and 22 of them were sealed while cases were registered against 13. This year, so far, eight ultra-sound clinics have been raided and three sealed.

The State Government had earlier decided to cancel licence of doctors who were found indulging in sex determination and has once against issued a caution.  The advisory board meeting was attended by Khallikote MLA V Sugyani Kumari Deo and Kendrapara MLA Sipra Mallick.

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