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Times Of India
04 July 2011
By, Umesh Isalkar
Pune, India

The state chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA)isto announce a Rs1lakh reward for anyone who helps nab doctors who carry out sex determination testsin major cities in Maharashtra, including Pune.

The Nagpur branch of IMA wasthefirsttodeclaresuch a rewardon July 1.

“Theidea isto motivate people to come forward so that doctors who indulge in sex-determination tests can be caught. The initiative is a step forward to curb the menace of female foeticide,„ said Devendra Shirole, national vice-president of IMA. The award will be given under the IMA’s Save the Girl ChildProject,he added.

“Anyindividualor NGOcan help us find an erring doctor,„ said Shirole. “The evidence should be sufficient enough to help prosecutethedoctor.Itcan be in the form of audio-video aides, a sting operation, a decoy caseetc.„

He said that sufficient proof would have to be provided by the complainant so that the culprits can be booked under the PCPNDTAct.TheIMAis ready to keep the name of the complainant a secret.

The proposal to announce such a reward in major cities will be discussed in detail during the executive committee meeting of the state chapter of IMAin August.

“The reward will be initially announced in major cities likeMumbai,Pune,Nashik. We have decided to cover all 36 districtsin thestate,„ Shirolesaid.

IMA decided on this course of action after taking cognisance of the reports of declining child sex ratio in the recent census. Until now, the IMA had been mainly focusing on sensitising doctors aboutthe menace of sex-determination tests and sex-selective abortions resulting in an impending gender crisis.

Family physician Avinash Bhondwe points out that doctors are not the only persons at fault. What about pregnant mothers, their husbands and in-laws wishing male heirs to carry on the so-called family lineage,he asks.

“Our government proudly declaresthe number of raidson doctors, but till date how many expectant mothers have been fined? Is the law only against doctors?If allthesinologistsdecideto goon strikeor stop doing sonographies, will all the sexdetermination activities come to a standstill? Will it increase the female ratio?„ says Bhondwe, who is also former president of the city chapter of theIMA.

Bhondwe suggests that there should be a central registry of all pregnantwomen.

“Such a registry should be maintained by the concerned local self-governing bodies like the municipal corporation in cities or a gram panchayat in a village. People not doing the necessary registration of pregnancy should be disallowed a birth-certificate by these institutes. Everybody knows how important the birth certificate is. The move will definitely yield results once people are aware of such a move and the system is streamlined,„ Bhondwesaid.

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