Background introduction

The socio-cultural practices in India are predominantly biased against the females mostly due to the patriarchial structure of the society. Indian culture, tradition and family beliefs are mostly against female and girls are treated as liability leading to female foeticide (aborting female babies) resulting in skewed sex ratio and almost a million girl fetus have been killed. The Primary Reasons for abortions are Male dominating society, Financial (Property, Dowry, Marriage, culture) and various religious and spiritual myths. Girls are viewed as a burden, various beliefs and social factors have resulted in widespread discrimination against the girl child resulting in the alarming decrease in the child-sex ratio in the country of late, particularly so in some States, and this is where the roots of Female Foeticide in India lies. Demographically the ratio has increased from 927 females per 1000 males to 933 from the census of 1991 to 2001; however, this ratio is alarmingly decreasing among children in the age group of 0-6 and the as per the 2011 census there are 914 females for 1000 males. If it continues, it’s going to further deepen the gender imbalance in the society.

Sex selection and its effects

Sex Selection is the practice of determining the sex of the unborn fetus and eliminating it if found to be female. Sex Selection is commonly referred to as Female Foeticide. The root cause of Sex Selection is the low status of women and girls in a male-dominated society which discriminates against girls. The culture of son-preference has led to ultrasound technology being used for sex determination, often followed by elimination of the female. Some try to justify sex selection by saying that fewer girls in a society will eventually enhance the status of girls. On the contrary, with fewer girls as compared to boys, it could lead further restrictions on girls and women, increased violence against them, rape, abduction, trafficking and a resurgence of practices such as polyandry (more than one man marrying one woman). In some parts of the country, the media has even reported that women are being ‘bought’ as brides.

As per nature’s own balance, 940-950 girls are born per 1000 boys. By finding out the number of girls actually born per 1000 boys, we can calculate the Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB). Similarly, by finding out the number of girls per 1000 boys in the 0-6 years age group, we get to know the Child Sex Ratio (CSR). SRB provides a more accurate indication of the extent to which sex selection occurs in a community. The 2001 census provides CSR data at the national, state and district levels. The Sample Registration System (SRS) provides data on SRB at the national and state levels. As per the 2001 census, the CSR of India was 927 girls to 1000 boys in the 0-6 years age group.

Sex Selection is prohibited as per PC & PNDT Act, 1994

The Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT Act) 1994 prohibits sex selection, before or after conception. Its purpose is to prevent misuse of technologies, such as ultrasound, in situations where information on sex of the foetus is found out for the specific purpose of eliminating girls. It is illegal to test the sex of the fetus for non-medical reasons. The law provides for imprisonment and fine. The law suffers from the bottlenecks of implementation, and there have been few convictions so far. The major difficulty relates to proving that an offense has occurred, since it takes place behind closed doors, with connivance between the medical service provider and parents.

Beti Bachao Initiative

For the first time in the history of IT, intervention in this category was introduced in the year 2007, thought over by then District Collector, Jabalpur (MP, India) IAS Sanjay Dubey and implemented. However, it was a little success as the initiative could not take off after his transfer from the District of Jabalpur. It was then taken over by District of Kolhapur and then spread further. Beti Bachao is a logical extension with the latest modification and was conceived by the inventors of Silent Observer™ from Sukrut Systems, Pune. After studying various solutions available in the market, the company has specifically designed this solution to help the administration and appropriate authorities while at the same time take care of the convenience of sonography center owners. It is designed as an MIS (Management Information System) for the district and state appropriate authorities.

PCPNDT Portal for Online Form - F

The online PC&PNDT portal helps in effective implementation of PC&PNDT Act, with a comprehensive inbuilt facility for filling of new -F prescribed by the Govt. of India starting from Jan/Feb 2014online by the all the sonography centers. The solutions provide data analysis for the appropriate authorities, gathering data and pinpointing on the suspected cases/centers. Along with Silent Observer™ - 2, online Form - F solutions is aimed to help the appropriate authorities at the district as well as the state level for better management of information and information flow from the sonologists/radiologists up to the state appropriate authorities.