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Karnataka registers 28,000 teen pregnancies in 2023; CM launches task force

Karnataka registers 28,000 teen pregnancies in 2023; CM launches task force

Mangalore Today News Network

Bengaluru, April 22, 2024: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has instructed officials to constitute a ‘central task force’, given the alarming number of teen pregnancies in Karnataka. According to the Central government’s Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) portal, 28,657 cases of underage girls (below 18 years) getting pregnant were reported in the state between January and November 2023.



Taking cognisance, Siddaramaiah on April 15, 2024 issued a letter to seven departments — Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, Primary and Secondary Education, Social Welfare, Backward and Minority Welfare, Department of Tribal Welfare and Home, instructing them to prevent such cases. He also said the morale of these young women should be raised by involving senior officials to be a part of the task force.

‘Hostels should be under strict surveillance’

He warned the authorities that hostels should be under strict CCTV surveillance and the health of girls should be monitored by organising checkups every month. An eye must also be kept on long-term absentee students at taluk and district levels by the task force officials.

The letter read, “A large number of girls under the age of 18 are getting pregnant in the state. Factors such as child marriage, social ills, poverty, regional and cultural differences, personal attitudes, sexual assaults, and lack of sexual awareness are the reasons for it.” The CM added that various departments need to work in “coordination to prevent such practices at the grassroots level and strictly implement the legal framework applicable to the crimes.”

With many technical glitches plaguing the system, Siddaramaiah advocated that a simpler procedure needs to be made available for reporting cases of teen pregnancies in private hospitals. “Develop a new centralised system to document compliance reports and information about the current incidents in the state to prevent pregnancies by recording accurate facts,” he instructed in the letter.

Sex education must be imparted via media in simple terms to parents and children and monitored by vigilance committees. “Conducting awareness programmes on self-defence measures, child marriages and evil social practices and creating awareness about physical growth at the school level is of utmost importance,” read the letter.

Drug store retailers and doctors who sell Schedule-H drugs such as abortion pills without a doctor’s prescription will be prosecuted under the law, emphasised the CM. NGOs and activists working in the field welcomed CM’s move and hoped for better implementation of child protection laws in the state.

Courtesy: Indian Express

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