Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan declared that he was disturbed by the falling gender ratio.
And he announced the setting up of an expert group to examine the new methods being used for gender determination of foetuses to get around the existing regulation of ultra sound machines to help check female foeticide.
"Despite the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act of 1994 being in effect for 20 years, the sex ratio in the country has dropped. The female to male child ratio was 964 to 1000 in 1971, but the 2011 census has shown that it has fallen to 918," he said while addressing the Central Supervisory Board.
Harsh Vardhan added that while rules are in place to prevent misuse of ultra-sound machines, there have been many recent innovations that also gave results on sex selection. Therefore, he announced the forming of an expert group to identify the approaches and formulate responses in the form of an Amendment to the existing Act.
"While misuse of ultra sound machines is still prevalent because it is cheap, newer medical technologies are increasingly being used in the name of 'genetic testing'," he added.
Harsh Vardhan further said that he is disturbed by the introduction of new technologies, including non-invasive techniques, for pre-natal sex determination.
The Health Minister also decided to invite stakeholders to brainstorm and develop effective systems against such malpractices.
"It is clear that the focus on the providers of sex selection services has not worked through 20 years. We need to go into the root cause and build up a social movement," he said.