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Health Politics

Govt waiver of compliance under PCPNDT rules, raises concerns of bigger threat

The notification has suspended some compliance needs, which could give a free hand for illegal sex determination

Sabrangindia 09 Apr 2020

Covid 19Image Courtesy:medicaldialogues.in

The outbreak of COVID19 in the country has put immense pressure on the healthcare sector. It was barely given any time to understand how it is to dealt with the novel coronavirus and it is quite natural that healthcare personnel are bearing the maximum burden of dealing with this health crisis. The government, in a bid to ease the pressure on the health sector, suspended the compliance of certain mandates of the Preconception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Rules.

On April 4, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a notification that effectively suspended implementation of Rule 8, Rule 9(8) and Rule 18A(6) of the Rules,1996 until June 30, 2020.

The notification states that this is being done “in view of the emergency situation arisen due to pandemic COVID-19, whereby entire country has been put under lockdown.” Calling it an unprecedented scenario, the notification identifies the compliance of Rule 8, Rule 9(8) and Rule 18A(6) of PCPNDT rules difficult.

The notification may be read here.

Rule 8 deals with application of re-registration of a genetic lab and clinic. The Appropriate Authority under the Act, after enquiry and examining whether the clinic etc has been complying with the PCPNDT Act and rules, can renew the registration for a period of 5 years.

Rule 9(8) requires each genetic or ultra-sound clinic or imaging centre to send complete report of all pre-conception and pregnancy related procedures conducted to the Appropriate Authority every month.

Rule 18(A) deals with the code of conduct to be observed by Appropriate Authority and requires the Appropriate Authority to send quarterly reports to the government in order to maintain full information of all registration in a specified form called Form H, among other things.

These specific regulations are the main facets of the law which keep these imaging centres and genetic labs in check, and prevent the occurrence of sex selection and eventually foeticide in the country. The main objective of the Act was to stop female foeticides in the country which have been rampant in a predominently patriarchal culture. Since this Act is being rigorously implemented, the country has seen a significant drop in cases of female foeticides.

Although this government notification does not technically allow sex selection practice in any manner, it effectively gives a free hand to clinics and imaging centres to carry out sex selection at the request of the patient and not having to maintain a record of it means there is no need for maintaining transparency. Waiving off these compliance requirements defeats the whole purpose of the Act.

The main contention against this move is that after dealing with a health crisis, or even while dealing with it, the government shouldn’t have to face another issue of illegal sex selection practice which could fast plummet to increase in female foeticide, in a country which already has a skewed sex ratio.

The All India Democratic Women’s Association has voiced its concerns on this move, “This suspension goes against the main purpose of the Act to stop sex selection by means of certain basic and vital compliances that genetic labs and clinics, etc. have to follow in keeping records and submitting these for scrutiny to the appropriate authority and for re-registration”.

Even Brinda Karat, the CPI(M) member raised her voice against this move and wrote a letter to union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan saying, “It stands to reason that if the clinic is open and conducting tests and is duty bound to keep a record of such tests as mandated by the PCPNDT law and thus, suspending a rule that mandates that they keep records of such tests could lead to illegal procedures being conducted”.

Related:

Sonia Gandhi’s letter puts many official expenditures under the public scanner
Medical professionals forced to take to crowdfunding to source PPEs
Dharavi a ticking bomb after two fresh cases take positive Covid-19 cases up to 9?

Govt waiver of compliance under PCPNDT rules, raises concerns of bigger threat

The notification has suspended some compliance needs, which could give a free hand for illegal sex determination

Covid 19Image Courtesy:medicaldialogues.in

The outbreak of COVID19 in the country has put immense pressure on the healthcare sector. It was barely given any time to understand how it is to dealt with the novel coronavirus and it is quite natural that healthcare personnel are bearing the maximum burden of dealing with this health crisis. The government, in a bid to ease the pressure on the health sector, suspended the compliance of certain mandates of the Preconception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Rules.

On April 4, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a notification that effectively suspended implementation of Rule 8, Rule 9(8) and Rule 18A(6) of the Rules,1996 until June 30, 2020.

The notification states that this is being done “in view of the emergency situation arisen due to pandemic COVID-19, whereby entire country has been put under lockdown.” Calling it an unprecedented scenario, the notification identifies the compliance of Rule 8, Rule 9(8) and Rule 18A(6) of PCPNDT rules difficult.

The notification may be read here.

Rule 8 deals with application of re-registration of a genetic lab and clinic. The Appropriate Authority under the Act, after enquiry and examining whether the clinic etc has been complying with the PCPNDT Act and rules, can renew the registration for a period of 5 years.

Rule 9(8) requires each genetic or ultra-sound clinic or imaging centre to send complete report of all pre-conception and pregnancy related procedures conducted to the Appropriate Authority every month.

Rule 18(A) deals with the code of conduct to be observed by Appropriate Authority and requires the Appropriate Authority to send quarterly reports to the government in order to maintain full information of all registration in a specified form called Form H, among other things.

These specific regulations are the main facets of the law which keep these imaging centres and genetic labs in check, and prevent the occurrence of sex selection and eventually foeticide in the country. The main objective of the Act was to stop female foeticides in the country which have been rampant in a predominently patriarchal culture. Since this Act is being rigorously implemented, the country has seen a significant drop in cases of female foeticides.

Although this government notification does not technically allow sex selection practice in any manner, it effectively gives a free hand to clinics and imaging centres to carry out sex selection at the request of the patient and not having to maintain a record of it means there is no need for maintaining transparency. Waiving off these compliance requirements defeats the whole purpose of the Act.

The main contention against this move is that after dealing with a health crisis, or even while dealing with it, the government shouldn’t have to face another issue of illegal sex selection practice which could fast plummet to increase in female foeticide, in a country which already has a skewed sex ratio.

The All India Democratic Women’s Association has voiced its concerns on this move, “This suspension goes against the main purpose of the Act to stop sex selection by means of certain basic and vital compliances that genetic labs and clinics, etc. have to follow in keeping records and submitting these for scrutiny to the appropriate authority and for re-registration”.

Even Brinda Karat, the CPI(M) member raised her voice against this move and wrote a letter to union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan saying, “It stands to reason that if the clinic is open and conducting tests and is duty bound to keep a record of such tests as mandated by the PCPNDT law and thus, suspending a rule that mandates that they keep records of such tests could lead to illegal procedures being conducted”.

Related:

Sonia Gandhi’s letter puts many official expenditures under the public scanner
Medical professionals forced to take to crowdfunding to source PPEs
Dharavi a ticking bomb after two fresh cases take positive Covid-19 cases up to 9?

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