New Delhi, Feb 3: Union Minister for Women and Child Development on Monday, Feb 2, came under huge criticism, when she said that two-decade ban on prenatal sex determination under Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act.
From opposition political parties to various activists, Maneka faced lot of backlash over her remarks.
Maneka's intention was to improve the declining trend of Child Sex Ratio. Maneka's remarks came while she was addressing the All India Regional Editors Conference in Jaipur on Feb 1, and she said "sex determination tests should be made compulsory to keep a track on the well-being of the child."
As Maneka's comments soon snowballed into a huge controversy,t he ministry came out with a swift clarification saying her remarks were "factually incorrect".
The Ministry's statement mentioned, "Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said there is an alternate point of view that if each pregnancy could be registered and the sex of the foetus made known to parents and if it happens to be a female, the delivery should be tracked and recorded. Such a system will help ensure that a foetus is not aborted only because it is a female."
Here is how Maneka Gandhi's statement was denounced:
Health Minister J P Nadda:
"This is her own view and not a Cabinet decision."
All India Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza:
"The Modi government appears determined to convert 'Save the girl child' campaign into 'Banish the girl child' campaign."
"Shocking and outlandish statement made by Maneka Gandhi proposing to lift the ban on sex determination test and instead to make it mandatory, reflects the insensitivity, complete lack of awareness and understanding of the ground realities on part of the BJP government."
"Preposterous and bizarre as it is, lifting the ban will undo years of hard work, institutional mechanisms and legal framework that has been put in place for last two decades to discourage female foeticide."
"Instead of implementing Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act in letter and spirit, the Modi government appears to completely abdicate its solemn obligation, thereby opening flood gates for medical termination of pregnancy originating on account of sex of the foetus."
"Maneka Gandhi appears to be either completely naive or myopic in her belief that those wanting to kill the girl child will state the true reason for termination of pregnancy. What is even more outrageous is the fact that the BJP government wants to keep a track of all pregnant women in India from the time of conception of child up to the delivery."
"The suggestion in itself borders on eccentricity. Does the Modi government intend to act as a police state and employ state machinery to track each and every woman who becomes pregnant?"
DCW Chief Swati Maliwal on Twitter:
"Disagree strongly with Maneka jis idea of making sex determination compulsory. It will increase female foeticide phenomenally. Instead of working towards properly implementing PNDT Act, implementing this idea will undermine the Act. V dangerous, should not be done. 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao'- If the idea is implemented, 'Beti' existence will be significantly threatened. Sex determination should not b legal."
Indian Women's Press Corp (IWPC):
"While the government too wants in all its earnestness to address the declining sex ratio and child sex ratio, any proposal to make sex determination tests legal will be counterproductive to the Beti Bachao campaign of the government and will not address the problem at all."
"It would give a licence and fillip to all those who believe in male child preference and to those who practice it medically and gain from it commercially."