By Ayesha Bhashir
WHAT DID SHE ACTUALLY SAY?
So, Union Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi while answering a question regarding the problem of different means adopted by people to know the sex of their unborn child at the All-India Regional Conference at Jaipur, said that child sex determination must, in fact, be made compulsory, the gender registered and childbirth be tracked from then onwards till the delivery of the baby.
WHAT SHE LATER CLAIMED TO HAVE SAID
After the statement triggered controversy all over, Maneka Gandhi’s office then tried to clarify her statement by blaming the media for creating a ruckus over nothing, and that what she actually meant was better enforcement of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Technique 1994 (she so did not man). PCPNDT Act banned pre-natal sex determination in order to curb the growing amount of female foeticide and declining Child Sex Ratio, which by the way stands at 919 according to 2011 Census in India.
HOW VALID IS WHAT SHE SAID?
Now if we refer to the statement made by her earlier, just for fun, not questioning anyone’s honesty here please, that’s what Arnab Goswami is here for, then a list of loopholes can be detected in this mind-blowingly brilliant idea.
- Most importantly the whole idea transfers the onus from the doctors to the mother, cause then ensuring the birth of the child will be her responsibility, even if that means fighting against the entire community at the cost of her and her child’s life.
- On a more logical level, it’s easier to keep a track of a few thousand doctors than keeping a track of a number of mothers in a country of the population and size of India, plus given the amazing infrastructural capabilities of our country hospitals are not the only place where new people add on to the population. How Maneka suggests keeping a check on all of these is a question only Rajnikant can answer.
- Corruption, I’m sorry but runs in our blood, if it involves the state machinery, it involves all sorts of action happening over the table, under the table and maybe beside the table as well. If not money then the big contacts that all of us seem to have, come in handy.
- As many radical feminists would argue (If any exist in India) it is against the right of women to abortion and very rightfully so.
- Patriarchy is so deeply rooted in our country, that now even if you try and do away with it; its propagators have devised a number of ways for its manifestation. Hence, once the family are made aware of the sex of the foetus and if it is the one that prevents them from buying everything ‘blue’, then they may carry out the abortion in some other way if not through medical means, or might even beat her to death.
FURTHERMORE, I THINK
India fares very low when it comes to Child Sex Ratio in the global arena, and this is one reason why a number of schemes have been launched by the government to ensure a decline in female foeticide, in order to make people realize that yes, girl child has an equal right to live and survive.
It’s high time that the caretakers of law and state realize that there lies a huge difference between announcing measures and actually implementing them because this is exactly where our country seems to be lagging behind the most. And if they aren’t capable of that, then the least they can do is to refrain from making such absurd statements.
Therefore, even though Ms Gandhi’s idea may be revolutionary, it is so only for the utopian world, or maybe even for China, but definitely not crafted or suited according to the Indian scenario.
If you think otherwise, please feel free to share your opinion. It’s the era of debating after all.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.