Photos by – Irina Murza and freestocks.org at Unsplash
The PC-PNDT Act is a 1994 act of parliament that outlaws the gender determination of the foetus before birth.
The intent of the PC-PNDT Act is to prevent female foeticide and to correct the poor gender/sex ratio in India.
Assuming near parity in the number of girls and boys, the current national sex ratio suggests that 7% of all girls are missing. I.e 3.5% of the national population of 1.2 billion, which is about 50 million missing girls/women.
The PC-PNDT Act has been a total failure. The improvements in child sex ratio are marginal and it’s likely a result of a more educated/literate population and not a result of the PC-PNDT Act.
Now, the Act is causing more damage than good. Sonography is a fast growing, emerging area of diagnostics and hand held devices with intelligent software on the cloud are changing the face of diagnostics that work using sound wave sensors.
Given the failure of the Act and the democratisation of the technology, it makes far more sense to make gender/sex determination compulsory for all pregnant women in India. This is easy to do and enforce by simply linking it to claiming of future benefits and rights.
By making sex determination compulsory, we will be able to track every girl child and make parents and caregivers responsible to give reasons for death or poor nutritional status of the child. Unusual cases can be investigated (without harassment) and people responsible for foeticide can be brought to justice.
The PC-PNDT Act must go.