20th Central Supervisory Board Meeting

The 20th meeting of the Central Supervisory Board (CSB) was held under the Chairmanship of ShriGhulamNabi Azad, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfarein New Delhi today. The meeting was held for the confirmation of the minutes of 19th CSB meeting held on July 20, 2012.

In his opening remarks,ShriAzadsaidHealth Ministry has engagedeffectively with the States to identify challenges in implementation of the PC & PNDT Act including grassroots advocacy to address attitudes that seek to discriminate against the girl child. His Ministry has noted that across all States covered under Annual Health Survey-2011,Sex Ratio at Birth in urban areas is significantly lower than the rural areas, except Rajasthan.Against this backdrop, the mushrooming of diagnostic facilities with ultrasound has compounded the challenge of implementation of the law. Over the last year, a total of 157 cases have been filed, 15 convictions secured and licenses of 15 doctors have been suspended.However, measures to curb the declining child sex ratio in our country need to be further anchored in robust institutional capacity, for which efforts need to be intensified by States.

Hesaid Health Ministry has put in place comprehensive and innovative Information, Education and Communication strategy to promote positive attitudes for ensuring survival and protection of the girl child.Capacity building of the Appropriate Authorities has gained momentum in States, while efforts to galvanize the Judiciary into pro-active action have also been undertaken. He said new challenges keep emerging. Blood tests that disclose the sex of a foetus arewidely available on the internet and Ultrasound procedures are available on mobile phones now. For this reason, it becomes important for Members to act in partnership with Government to counter the unethical practice of gender biased sex selection and actively engage with society in influencing public opinion and shaping a positive environment to save and protect the girl child. Under the National Rural Health Mission, Rs. 30 croreswere given to the States for PNDT related activities during the year 2012-13. States have already included a range of PNDT related activities to build dedicated capacity for effective implementation of the PNDT Act.

In his opening remarks, Shri Azad emphasised the urgent need to overcome male-biased birth ratiosthrough a combination of strategies, including attention to gender equality in laws and policies, advocacy, media campaigns and economic growth.

Addressing the meeting, Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Women & Child Development said the problem of declining child sex ratio must be seen in the context of the low status of women and the girl child as a whole within home and outside. She mentioned various initiatives undertaken by WCD Ministry for empowerment of women and emphasized that all sectors would need to work in a harmonized manner to ensure that the girl child takes birth, does her schooling and functions as a productive member of society.

Earlier Smt. Anuradha Gupta, Addl. Secretary of Health & Family Welfare welcomed the members of the Central Supervisory Board.

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