Alarmed by falling sex ratio, the Odisha government has decided to use pregnant women in sting operations for nailing clinics and nursing homes conducting sex determination tests and even selective sex elimination. Prenatal sex determination is banned in India.
The move has shades of the film Kahaani, but its lead actors will be women who are 14-22 weeks pregnant, unlike Vidya Balan who sported a prosthetic belly for a high-risk game on reel. “The decoys will pose as women seeking sex determination tests,” state health secretary PK Mohapatra said on Thursday. “They’ll be paid Rs. 5,000; we have a budgetary provision for that.”
Asked if the government feared criticism, Mohapatra said none was expected. The sex ratio in Odisha has declined from 953 females per 1,000 males in 2001 to 934 in 2011. In more than 10 of the state’s 30 districts, the sex ratio is less than 900, with Nayagarh having the most skewed figure of 851.
Last year, a court in Jharsuguda district held three doctors guilty of conducting sex determination tests. This has been the only conviction for the crime so far in the state. A preference for sons is largely responsible for gender imbalance in the country. India’s child sex ratio is 914 girls per 1,000 boys, below the global benchmark of 952.
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