Government of the western Indian state of Maharashtra is planning to install an observer device in all the sonography units in the state as a measure to check sex determination and female infanticide.
Currently, there are 7,373 sonography centres in Maharashtra.
Sonography devices, which are used to scan the growth of the foetus and various other ailments can also be utilized to determine the sex of the embryo.
Several people show a tendency to abort foetuses if they come to understand that the prospective baby is a female leading to infanticides.
The new detection device will be embedded in each machine and it will collect data about every sonography that has occurred on the machine. The data can then be retrieved later.
The detection device will bring all sonography centres operating in the state online. This will daily online reporting of sonography tests of all pregnant women across the state.
If anybody is found misusing the sonographic scanning devices for sex determination, the generated data can then be used to take legal action against the culprit doctors and parents.
Indian prohibits sex determination in clinics. As per the Pre conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, it is mandatory for sonography centres to keep the details of each and every sonography that is conducted. A government official then looks at the record every three months.
This method will go a long way in helping to prevent the malpractice of identifying the gender of the foetus, the Maharashtra government officials hoped.
“We will install a silent observer device in all sonography centres across the state. We have already installed it in Kolhapur. The device will help stop the practice of sex determination in clinics and make them answerable,” Minister for Public Health and Family Welfare, Suresh Shetty said while replying to a question on female infanticide in the state.
In pilot study, the foetus test stopping device was first installed in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra.
Kolhapur is one of the ditricts in Maharashtra having the skewed sex ratio.The sex ratio in Mumbai, according to the 2001 census, is 774 (females per 1,000 males) in the island city and 826 in the suburbs. In Greater Mumbai on the whole the ratio is 811 females per 1000 males. The state sex ratio is 922 females per 1000 males.
The government is also planning to set up flying squads on the lines of the income tax department. They will raid sonography units in areas in the state that have a skewed sex ratio, reports said.