Govt has been under-reporting numbers of missing girls, says ACHR
Just a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi put girls at the centre stage at Haryana’s Golden Jubilee functions, pledging to save the girl child, comes a report revealing that India has lost 2.55 crore girls in the last two decades to female foeticide.
In other words, between 1991 and 2011, the country has been losing an average of over 13 lakh girls every year to infanticide owing to sex-determination tests. In comparison, the conviction rate in the cases of sex selection filed under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, was 1 in 1,23,755. These are some of the findings of a report on the Act to be released Thursday (today) by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR).
The study, ‘The State of the PC&PNDT Act: India’s losing battle against female foeticide’, further reveals that between 1994 and 2014, only 2,266 cases of infanticide under Sections 315 and 316 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and 2,021 cases under the PCPNDT Act were filed. Between 1994 and 2014, only one in 12,614 cases were filed under the PCPNDT Act. Of these, there were convictions in only 206 cases, implying that the conviction rate was one in 1,23,755 cases. In 17 states and six Union Territories, not a single case was registered under the PCPNDT Act.
Of the 1,663 cases of foeticide registered between 2000 and 2015, as per NCRB data, Madhya Pradesh topped with 360 cases, followed by Rajasthan (255), Punjab (239), Maharashtra (155), Chhattisgarh (135) and Haryana (131).
The PCNPDT Act is one of the key Acts the Centre has promoted since it came to power. Yet, in a review meeting held a year after the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme was launched, 42 of the worst districts saw a decline in the Child Sex Ratio (CSR) . Of these, Dibang Valley (Arunachal Pradesh), Lakshadweep and Yanam (Puducherry), saw a steep decline in CSR of more than 200 points.
The report also says that the government under-reports the number of missing girls. It cites a report, ‘Children in India 2012 — A Statistical Appraisal’, to quote that increasingly declining sex ratio “led to the missing of nearly 3 million girl children compared to 2 million missing boy children in 2011, compared to 2001.”
“This is wrong on two counts. First, it does not take into account that the decadal growth of population – from 1.028 billion in 2001 to 1.21 billion in 2011 – which would have resulted in the birth of more girls between 2001 and 2011 in actual terms. Second, the Census is conducted every 10 years and the CSR covering 0-6 years of age excludes those in the 7-10 years of age group and indeed does not reflect the actual number of missing girls during the decade,” says the report.
The failure to implement the PCPNDT Act, the report states, is due to various factors. They include under-utilisation of funds, non-renewal of registration, non-maintenance of patient details, absence of regular inspection, lack of mapping and tracking of equipment. The report states that, as per the CAG report on the Act, under-utilisation of funds led to the allocation of only Rs 7.09 crore (35%) under the projected requirement of Rs 20.26 crore during 2010-14.
The CAG report also revealed that in Uttar Pradesh, the inspection of 100 ultrasound clinics revealed that 1,326 cases (68%) did not have registered medical practitioners, while the details of the procedure were not mentioned in 1,110 cases (57%).