In an effort to prevent illegal prenatal sex determination tests that lead to female foeticide, the Maharashtra government will rope in NGOs to carry out sting operations and identify malpractices at clinics.

The proposal from the government is inspired by an act of a social activist who used a decoy couple to book a gynaecologist and a radiologist under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT). Activist Kiran Moghe, who arranged the sting, told media that the doctor demanded Rs 9,000 from the decoy couple to send the five-month-old pregnant woman to a sonography clinic for sex determination of the foetus.

‘The NGOs working in the field of family welfare will be given Rs 25,000 for targeting sonography centres suspected of carrying out sex-determination tests. The decoy couple used in the operation will also be offered an equal amount as encouragement,’ said Suresh Gupta, additional director, Maharashtra family welfare department.

The issue of illegal sex-determination tests is being accorded high priority by the state government in view of a dwindling child sex ratio as a result of female foeticide. Latest data show that the state’s child sex ratio, which was 913 girls per 1,000 boys in 2001, has come down to 883 girls in 2011.

The state health officials have already launched a vigorous campaign to detect sonography clinics that flout the PCPNDT Act and conduct sex-determination tests clandestinely. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) Pune branch has also issued a notice to the gynaecologist nabbed in the recent sting operation, asking him as to why his registration should not be cancelled.