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Ladli Laxmi failed: Asian human rights panel hauls up MP on infanticide, foeticide

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Special Correspondent

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh tops the country in infanticide and foeticide cases and its flagship Ladli Laxmi scheme (to promote girl children) has been totally ineffectual in improving child sex ratio, the Asian Centre for Human Rights Commission (ACHR) has said.

The centre, which has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC), has called for ‘immediate overhaul of the policies and programmes of Madhya Pradesh to address female foeticide in the State’.

The statement by ACHR has come during release of its report, ‘Madhya Pradesh: The land of female infanticide and foeticide in India’, released recently.

The statements mentions: Madhya Pradesh has been leading the States in female foeticide and female infanticide in India. Out of the 2,266 cases of infanticide registered across the country during 1994-2014, Madhya Pradesh topped with 537 cases or 24% of all the cases of infanticide.

Further, out of the 1,663 cases of foeticide registered from 2001 to 2015, Madhya Pradesh once again topped with 360 cases (21.6% of all cases).

Despite such deplorable track record, only two convictions had been secured under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 in the 20 years from 1994 to September 2014.

The laxity on the part of the key officials of the State Government of Madhya Pradesh reached such a proportion that on 15 September 2014, the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Gwalior had to order registration of a case against Madhya Pradesh’s Chief Health Secretary Praveer Krishna, Principal Secretary Suraj Damor and suspension of Health Director Dr. Ashok Sharma for violating the PC&PNDT Act for not holding meetings of the State Supervisory Board.

The report by ACHR states that Madhya Pradesh was the first State to launch the Ladli Laxmi Yojana (LLY) in 2007 aimed at protecting the future of the girls and increasing their population in the state.

As in December 2014, more than Rs 4,500 crore had been deposited in bank accounts of over 18.62 lakh girls.

However, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) after an audit of the LLY scheme for the period 2010-2013 in its report placed before the State Assembly in Julyt 2014 highlighted serious problems in the implementation of the LLY.

These included improper maintenance of record of selection of the beneficiaries; National Saving Certificates (NSCs) being issued without ascertaining eligibility of beneficiaries; non-cancellation of NSCs in case of death of beneficiaries.

Other issues mentioned were delay in issue of subsequent NSCs to the beneficiaries; more than 5 NSCs issued to some beneficiaries; benefits given to second girl child without ascertaining fulfillment of eligibility; lack of monitoring and supervision; and funds earmarked for publicity of the scheme not being utilised.

Consequently, the LLY had no impact on child sex ratio in the age group of 0-6 years, the panel report says.

As per the Annual Health Survey (AHS), the Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) was respectively 904 during 2011-2012 and 905 during 2012-2013. The SRB is far lower than the Child Sex Ratio (CSR) of 918 girls per 1,000 boys in Madhya Pradesh as per 2011 Census

If the existing under-five mortality rate (U5MR) of 48 deaths per 1,000 births in India is applied in Madhya Pradesh context, the CSR would fall to 856 during 2011-2012 and to 857 during 2012-2013 which is far below CSR of 918 as per 2011 census.

“Though the figures of the AHS are only indicative, they indicate no improvement of the CSR in Madhya Pradesh,” the centre has said.

The panel has called upon the State Government of Madhya Pradesh to revise Ladli Laxmi Yojana to increase the amount for post birth benefits and scholarship and further additional financial assistance for marriage to be paid to surviving girls. It has also asked to provide all the information such as list of beneficiaries, funds sanctioned and utilization certificates online for effective review.

Madhya Pradesh Government has also been recommended to undertake effective measures to monitor and ensure proper implementation of the PC&PNDT Act and the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.

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