Save The Baby Girl
Magnum OpusTM is one of the leading companies in E-Governance & M-Governance and has pioneered in various innovations , solutions and products contributing to Good Governance & benefits to the common man. Our focus is on developing systems for the Government departments to enhance their efficiency, accuracy and helping them to serve citizens better. Magnum OpusTM has vast experience in implementing turn key projects and solutions to various departments such as Election, Food & Civil Supply, Revenue, Police, Sports& Health.
‘Save The Baby Girl’ Project is one of the inventions of Magnum OpusTM that which is successfully implemented at Kolhapur, Sangli, Jalgaon, Solpaur&Nanded districts in Maharashtra. The System is focused on effectively implementing the PCPNDT Act, curbing female foeticide& enhancing sex ratio. The project has been appreciated by various dignitaries such as Ex President Mr. Abdul Kalam, Mr. Narayan Murthy and by many experts across the society. The project is showing remarkable results and has proved that it has helped in solving the problem of Under reporting and False reporting.
Sex Selection: Female Foeticide, Current Status
India is facing a severe problem of declining percentage of the girl child in the 0-6 years age group. As per 2001 census, there are only 913 females against 1000 males. Males have always been given preference over females in India due to various reasons, such as male is treated as asset over female as liability, dowry system, marriage system, lean age, religious, wealth, family name etc. In the current urbanized section of society, even well educated and young couples also want a square family, and if first child is girl and second must be son.
Unfortunately female foeticide is not treated as murder and people do not have that sense toward unwanted sex selective abortions. Also extensive misuse of the technology such as sonography machine to easily identify the sex of the fetus has become a common technique and also an unethical practice for the doctors and radiologists to earn easy money.
Since the demand is from families and which is fulfilled by unethical doctors for commercial interests, despite having strict laws, it is very difficult to catch the culprits. Firstly there is no one who complains, and the crime is done with consent. The Government has taken action for incorporating the law called as PCPNDT Act since 1994, but its implementation is far from expected. There are certain rules and regulations formed under this law for the genetic centers but implementation & monitoring is far from expected. There was no such system in place for the Government agencies to monitor and take actions.
As per the law, every pregnant Ultrasound Sonography (USG) needs to be recorded and reported to the Government appropriate authorities in the F form as prescribed in the law. But the responsibility of such record generation lies with doctors and radiologists, and especially in cases of sex selection, such records were either not generated or falsely reported. There was no mechanism to record any sort of proof for the appropriate authorities to take any actions. Some NGOs have started doing sting operations, but till date no such large effect has been seen and the problem is still out of control.
Study & Findings
After performing a comprehensive study of the perception of all stakeholders, the following key issues have been identified.
The demand for son is generated from the families and there is high preference given to the males for following reasons:
- Male dominance over the female over the ages
- Male is treated as asset while female as liability
- Dowry system
- Continuation of family name
- Marriage system
- Commercial interest
- Education preference
Due to awareness and availability of sonography machine, the sex selection is an easy process for such families and hence there is a huge demand of such technologies across India.
For doctors and radiologists, this is an easy way of earning money and that too in cash and in black (illegal). For example for doing a sonography, the fees charged is approximately Rs. 300 to 500, while sex determination is done for a minimum of Rs. 5000. Hence there is a large illegal commercial interest for the doctors/radiologists.
Another important factor is the investment done bythedoctors is very high, such as medical education fees, infrastructure cost, high technology purchase cost and high competition. So lots of investment is already being done for a doctor/radiologist to start his “Business” and they desperately want to recover this investment. So this is also one of the important factors for such illegal acts.
The Indian Government has already made the law called PCPNDT Act for prevention of such illegal sex determination. They have formed some guidelines for genetic centers. But there are number of problems with the existing system.
The records generation (as per law) is done by the doctors and for such sex determination cases the records are never generated. Hence there is a huge problem of “Under Reporting”.
In case the records are generated due to enforcement by the appropriate authorities, in most of the cases the records are manipulated deliberately. There is a large issue of “False Reporting”.
No proof is available from such records that the sex determination took place, which is one of the major problems the appropriate authorities are facing for taking actions.
Most of the cases and actions taken on the genetic centers are of incomplete documentation and not of sex determination.
The genetic centers need to submit the monthly report of the USG done on the pregnant women to the appropriate authorities, but in most of the places the reporting is not done properly and authorities do not have a system to monitor the reports.
It is practically not possible for the authorities to check for each and every F form manually from the thousands of F forms submitted every month to identify the suspects for example, pregnant women with previous 2 or more girl children.
No system is available for the authorities to collect process and identify the suspected cases and monitoring the centers.
There is no standardization of the procedures across the State and also at National level.
There are no special officers dedicated for this issue, and existing authorities have to handle a number of other tasks.
There is a huge problem of unauthorized centers and unauthorized machines being purchased, reselling of USG machines.
There is a huge problem of unauthorized medical professionals and others doing sonography and no tracking mechanism is available with the Government.;
To summarize, appropriate authorities are not getting any sort of evidence for taking actions against the culprits.
Other important facts and emerging conclusions
There is no system to generate the data and no MIS system with the Government to track and monitor the centers and the pregnancies
Big problem of under reporting & False reporting
The study shows that the districts with more number of genetic centers have weaker sex ratio
The authorities does not have a system to generate the evidence and hence very less or no actions has been taken so far
The genetic centers also always carry a risk of incomplete documentation as most of their record keeping is done by their support staff
SAVE THE BABY GIRL
Magnum OpusTM, one of the leading companies in social business and e-governance, has invented this system of Save The Baby Girl. The system is implemented in two phases, Online Portal called www.savethebabygirl.com and fitting a video capture device called Active Tracker to the USG machine.
All centers will be registered online and all the information of the centers such as center details, machines details and their employees (radiologist and doctors) details will be submitted online. They were issued the user name and password and further authenticated using PIN system.
The system will be made online and every center will be asked to submit the form F, MTP report and delivery report online as per the prescribed format under PCPNDT Act.
Due to the online system, the centers will be forced to fill the complete information of each USG and system was developed in a way that incomplete forms will not be submitted. This will not only help the authorities but more advantage to the genetic centers as now they can rely upon their support staff and all reporting was exactly following the guidelines of the PCPNDT Act. So the genetic centers were little relieved from the risk of action of incomplete documentation.
The appropriate authorities will get the reports of the each USG immediately through online system which they can cross check and monitor and track easily and from anywhere with the use of PC with internet connection.
The portal is developed in such a way that it automatically creates various reports such as pregnant females with 2 or more previous girl child etc. So suspected cases can identified and tracked on single click.
Users are created as per the authority levels such as district user with access of all district level data, tehsil level users, rural and urban level users etc. So each appropriate authority as per the region can access and monitor the USGs performed in their respected areas.
Only an online portal was not sufficient as the under reporting problem was still not solved. Hence a new invention, earlier called as Silent Observer was invented by Magnum Opus
TM This is a device that is fitted to the USG machine externally through cables and it captures all the video images of the USG and stores in local hard drive. Every time a USG machine is on, Active Tracker also gets on and immediately starts the video recording even if the machine is idle. It is doing contentious recording of the monitor till the machine is off. This device has worked wonderfully as a deterrent to all the centers and it is found that the reporting was increased by 34% across the district.
Active Tracker is a device that is connected to the USG machine through external cables. It is connected through the video port of the USG and it starts capturing the screen images of the USG monitor and records each and every screen in the form of Video. The Active Tracker has a storing capacity of 1 terabyte and can be scaled further.
The Active Tracker is connected through single power supply along with the USG hence USG machine and Active Tracker starts simultaneously. All the videos recorded are stored in systematic manner and in securely encrypted formats.
Additional software is developed to access these videos and only through this software with security code the data can be accessed. The Active Tracker is a advanced version of Silent Observer. Silent Observer was the first product, but after implementation we realized that it needs to be modified for security, monitoring and operational level.