After reports quoted Union minister Maneka Gandhi saying that prenatal sex determination tests should be made compulsory to track women pregnant with girls, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader issued a clarification on Tuesday. The Women and Child Development minister's office said the reports were incorrect, and that Gandhi was discussing effective implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act.
The statement said Gandhi had suggested an alternative where parents who wanted to know the gender of their baby could find out, and would later be tracked in case the baby was female. This would help to check female foeticide. "It should be registered to be able to check whether they have gone through with the births or not," she said.
The Union minister believed that the idea, certainly a new way to look at the problem, may help solve it. According to Gandhi, catching people undergoing illegal ultrasounds, which is the current practice, is not a permanent solution.
Gandhi's suggestion received criticism from the Opposition, with Congress leader PC Chacko saying sex determination may prove to be counter-productive. The Congress' Shoba Oza also lashed out at Gandhi's suggestion, saying, "It is a very irresponsible proposal which she has put forward. She has no idea what the middle class goes through and how difficult it is for mothers."