Pre-natal sex test is just an idea: Gopaldas Agarwal
The PAC’s report on the woman and child welfare department in the state was tabled in the House on April 7.
Mumbai: Undeterred by the uproar cause by the state Public Accounts Committee (PAC) suggestion to make pre-natal sex determination and tracking of pregnant women mandatory, PAC chairman Gopaldas Agarwal has defended his panel’s controversial suggestion.
Mr Agarwal said, “We have put a thought across the table for debate and discussion. If one wants to accept it, it’s okay; and if one wants to drop it, there’s no issue. Our aim is to improve the child sex ratio in the state, and it has been proved that 1994’s Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PcPNDT) Act has failed. Therefore, we all need to think out of box to find the solution to this problem.”
The PAC’s report on the woman and child welfare department in the state was tabled in the House on April 7. Social and women’s activists have slammed the suggestion, claiming it would weaken the cause. They said, instead, the PcPNDT Act must be strengthened.
However, buttressing his argument, Mr Agarwal said, “The PcPNDT Act holds only doctors responsible. But it is the social responsibility of parents to save the girl child. Our suggestion could help create social awareness. If we start tracking pregnant woman with female foetuses along with the district health officer, the doctor and the woman concerned plus an NGO that is experienced in this field, it could improve the situation.”
Activists have expressed fears that if the suggestion were to be included in the law, it would be misused widely and malpractices would increase.
According to Mr Agarwal, “If we keep a watch on such women with this long chain of tracking, it will definitely put pressure on her and her family members.”
He added that doctors would also be held responsible for their misdeeds.
“I am not protecting doctors. They will be booked as per the law if they do anything illegal.”
PAC guidelines are not mandatory for the House or while making or amending laws. But many a time, these suggestions are taken as guidelines. In this case, Mr Agarwal firmly said that he didn’t feel it was wrong to make such suggestions. “Everyone is free to speak. If the state government or legislative Houses thinks that our opinion is good, they can discuss and suggest amendments in the PcPNDT Act to the Centre.” He added the panel’s was not the ultimate solution and the people concerned could some of their own to make a strong provision.