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Govt goes for tougher sex determination law


Neelu Vyas,CNN-IBN
Dec 13, 2007 at 09:49am IST

New Delhi: The Government is planning tough new measures against doctors and clinics that carry out sex determination tests.

Stricter punishment, a 10-fold increase in fines, a medical audit for gynaecologists and incentives for informers are among the measures being planned.

And if the Government does goes through with the Health Ministry proposal to amend the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) act, the infamous “clinics of death” could find it a little tougher to continue.

Under the proposal:

  • Doctors found guilty under the Act would serve jail terms of up to 7 years, 2 more than the present penalty.
  • They would also have to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh.
  • District collectors and the Director General of Health in each state would be in charge of monitoring implementation.

That’s not all. “Incentives will be given to the local workers who will act as informers,” says Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss.

At present, women have to get their abortions registered by filling in a form at the clinic where they have been operated on. The new proposal plans to introduce online registrations to promote transparency.

Also planned is a comprehensive medical audit of all children born. But the proposal has some way to go before it becomes law.

“We will take it forward to the Law Pinistry, then to Parliament and then we will carry it forward,” says Ramadoss.

This proposal clearly indicates that the implementation of the PNDT act has been very weak. But even before penalties, fines and medical audit become a part of the PNDT act, immense pressure from the medical groups need to be countered as well.

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