Monday, May 23, 2011

A new spy tool to check female foeticide

AHMEDABAD: Those conducting illegal sex determination tests and carrying out female foeticide in Gujarat, beware. The state government is going to arm itself with a 'Silent Observer', which not only will monitor activities at diagnostics centers but is an effective tool to check female foeticide and unscrupulous doctors.

Designed and developed by three Pune-based IITians, Narendra Saini, Rajat Bansal and Hemant Singh, 'Silent Observer', is a device which when attached to sonography testing machines records its activities and provides analytical reports.

The device is already installed at 240 diagnostic centers in Kolhapur. The state government has now decided to use the device as a pilot project in Mehsana. According to 2011 census provisional data, the overall sex ratio in the state has declined from 920 women per 1,000 men to 918. However, the child sex ratio stood at 886. The lowest child sex ratio (836) was recorded in Surat district, followed by Mehasana (845) and Gandhinagar (847).

The device works alongside an integrated web-enabled online F-form reporting system, which under the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, is mandatory to report before each pregnancy to the district health authorities for diagnostic centers.

"We are beginning with five sets of machines which will be installed at diagnostic centers in Mehsana. We will start a pilot project for filing 'F' forms online in Mehsana under the portal called '' with the IITians. However, for online form we are also testing a portal prepared by another company in Surat," said state health department commissioner Anju Sharma.

The trio claims that the device has worked wonders in Kohlapur where the reporting of sonography tests has seen a substantial rise. "The state health department saw more than 10 per cent increase in the number of pregnancies reported from diagnostics centres in just two months after the device was installed. We are also in talks with officials in Punjab and Haryana where devices will be installed after the pilot project in Gujarat," said Saini director (technical) of VisionIndia Software Exports Limited, which is marketing the device at Rs 40,000 each.

"The machine records videos of sonography tests and that it can also be used to catch centers where illegal abortions and sex determinations tests are taking place. If successful with the pilot project we are going to implement the same in other cities and towns of Gujarat," Sharma added.

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