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Students to be sensitised on female foeticide

By Our Staff Correspondent

NEW DELHI, DEC. 10. Launching a nationwide campaign against female foeticide, the National Commission for Women (NCW) and the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry today released a handbook on "Pre-Birth Elimination of Females," which will be distributed to students from Classes VIII to X in all Central Government schools. The book will subsequently be included in the school curriculum.

Brought out by the NCW, the handbook discusses pre-birth elimination of females in India and highlights the phenomenon of missing girls. It aims to create a movement involving students and teachers to generate awareness and sensitise society on the issue.

Releasing the handbook, the Minister of State for Human Resource Development, M.A.A. Fatmi, said the book would be made part of the school curriculum and the State Governments would also be asked to include it in the syllabus. Asking the officers to get the handbook translated in regional languages also, Mr. Fatmi said it was necessary that the handbook reach public schools also since the worst sex ratio had been reported from prosperous communities. "This shameful tradition of female foeticide has to end," he said.

Handbook

The handbook will be initially distributed to the teachers and students of Kendriya Vidyalayas, the Navodaya Schools and Tibetan Schools while the issue will be taken up with the Defence Ministry for distribution in the Army schools also.

The handbook will be discussed by the Committee on Health and Physical Education for inclusion of the subject from lower classes, Mr. Fatmi said.

Speaking on the occasion, the NCW chairperson, Poornima Advani, said it was necessary to create awareness among the people from a young age to change their mindset that would ensure dignity to women, even before their birth. Pointing towards misuse of technology for female foeticide, Ms. Advani said while the "amniocentesis" (test for health of baby inside womb) and "chorionic villus sampling" (for the determination of genetic abnormalities) had come to be used more commonly for sex determination. With the introduction of ultrasonography, sex determination had spread to many towns and villages.

The handbook also lists the factors responsible for female foeticide and implications of the declining sex ratio. Quoting from a global study, it says that of the 15 million abortions carried out in the world in 1997, India accounted for four million, 90 per cent of which were intended to eliminate the female child.

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