Nirbhaya Fund: Returns unspent from all States
A meager Rs 264 crore used out of Rs 3,000 crore till August 2017, as per an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court.
New Delhi is not just our country’s capital but also the capital of crimes, especially against women of which eve-teasing registered a fivefold increase in 2013. From the near doubling of the number of women alleged to have been kidnapped-from 1,750 in 2012 to 2,906 in 2013 to the spurting of rape cases to 250%, Delhi topped the notoriously famous cities for cruelty against women. Allocation of 10 billion corpus by Government of India in its 2013 Union Budget as Nirbhaya fund was an emergency response. Is it for us to boast that our country has the maximum number of legislations for women with enough money that didn’t find the need to be used? Did the Ministry of Women and Child Development, along with its concerned ministries, work out details of the structure, scope and the application of this fund is the unanswered questioning lingering! Though it’s nothing close to the amount allocated for a memorial statue, to clean river Ganga or towards the 2010 commonwealth games, only 30 pc is utilized in the last 5 years. We have
problems moving forward. Either the funding is delayed or funds lie unutilized. If nothing, they are pocketed. Any violence is the result of Government’s apathy or inadequacy. Under utilization of this fund is one example.
An RTI query has revealed that only Rs 50 crore out of 500 crores has been utilized by the Railway Ministry which means ensuring round-the-clock security to passengers including women is not their priority. CCTV surveillance system in 350 odd stations is appreciated. We can only hope phasewise installation doesn’t mean quite a number of years with regard to time or just ‘NO’ cameras, personal and baggage screening system and bomb detection system. One stop centers being the flagship of Nirbhaya fund, this facility should be fully fledged. Apart from what’s expected, the Aparajita centre, Jaipur set up in 2013 is looked upon as a failed project because of the lack of trained counsellors, little access to legal aid and a failure to link these centres with help lines. Unless otherwise integrated services are made available to victims by employing qualified regular staff, the fund will remain underused or be misused. And rehabilitation of survivors is forgotten as ‘Follow up’ does not happen for want of resources. This is just one example of an OSC. Constraints exist as a result of the fund being misused or underused. Forget rehabilitation but if justice for the affected women was government’s priority, why was the Scheme for Restorative Justice not implemented despite funds being allocated for it. More so, why was it eventually discontinued in 2015-’16? Restorative justice comes after justice. There was a hint about justice deliverance right from the start when one of the accused was protected from the noose, sent to a reformatory to relax and learn moral science with an idea of a farewell gift too. In addition to fulfiling the requirements to qualify as that somebody to deliver justice, deliverance of justice needs nothing but plain common sense and clear conscience. A man more than capable of committing a heinous crime with such sexual perversion and notoriety being categorized as ‘Juvenile’ is the most absurd. There is no point wringing our hands or racking our brains in frustration about the inefficiency of ‘Sakhi Centres’. After all, this scheme was implemented across the country since 1st April 2015. And we all know the significance behind ‘April 1’. Nirbhaya fund did look like the ‘Queen of good times’. Little later did people realize “achhe din kabhi nahi aayenge’. In November 2017 two years after the government set up a central victim compensation scheme, out of 17 cases of rape documented by Human Rights Watch, only three survivors received compensation. Was the fund diverted to some
An RTI query has revealed that only Rs 50 crore out of 500 crores has been utilized by the Railway Ministry which means ensuring round-the-clock security to passengers including women is not their priority. CCTV surveillance system in 350 odd stations is appreciated. We can only hope phase-wise installation doesn’t mean quite a number of years with regard to time or just ‘NO’ cameras.
industrialist is anybody’s wild guess. Never mind, the scheme still remains on paper.
Statistics on the number of calls received and responded to on the women helpline looks impressive but not the number of beneficiaries. Integration of 181 with CATS as per the plans and recommendation of DCW may take its time. As per DCW, most calls to 181 pertained to cases of domestic violence but handholding of women in distress should never mean counseling and solving marital disputes that had already led to violence.
A meager Rs 264 crore used out of Rs 3,000 crore till August, 2017, as per an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court a few months ago is a dismal story. Shifting blames does not augur well. States being lethargic about formulating proposals factoring in women safety issues in their sector within the public sphere and sending it to the Ministry for appraisal and recommendation of projects sounds like a ridiculous excuse from an underperforming student. Hasn’t the centre at any point of time coerced any state to act promptly! Despite the stated enthusiasm of the central government in announcing this fund year back, government also must undertake important measures with a moral responsibility and consciousness to mainstream the role of states in doing their part. Too much of prodding to use the fund should not give ideas either. Sadly, three ministries involved remind me of ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’.
People known for animal rights activism appraising schemes under Nirbhaya fund will indeed be slowfooted because so much of effort and time goes into writing manuals for ‘Gaushalas’ and protecting harmful stray animals. There is always a relation between efficiency of a certain ministry and the person or Empowered Committee of Officers heading it. People with different capabilities should be placed appropriately. For example, the perfect person for AWBI shouldn’t be elsewhere. Tap in the academia if there occurs a need. Of the 301 cities, only 8 considered unsafe for women itself is a joke. Don’t be surprised if the GOI suggests all women to relocate to safe places till the funds are put to proper use. With dozen leaders with RSS background and ideals, it will never come as a surprise if they manage to make these 8 cities free of women and save themselves from being taunted about not putting the fund to use.
According to a journalist friend of mine, locating the One Stop Rape Crisis Centre in AIIMS, New Delhi, supposedly country’s renowned government hospital, is more difficult than helping Yogi. A understand that freedom of religion in India is a
fundamental right. The casualty ward turned into a One Stop Centre provide only one facility out of several listed in the document and it seems the process to access that one facility is a harrowing one. Another One Stop Centre at Safdarjung Hospital with a nice sign board had nothing much to boast.
The women staff never seemed to have heard of words as ‘legal and psychological counseling’. As for these dysfunctional OSCs, there is no agency whatsoever to oversee why these are not functioning the way they were meant to be. The presence of an OSC doesn’t mean it’s operational. More research on these proposed, awkwardly implemented schemes would only amount to frustration and anger at the lackadaisical attitude of the government.
Violence against women
Every politician actively acknowledges the problem of violence against women thereby engaging our society in the discourse around this in different ways. Suffice to say, the recent suggestion by our tourism minister on how foreigners should dress and conduct themselves here in India seems to insinuate much more than ‘what women wear is the real problem’. The honourable minister made no bones about his intent of conveying a message in tune with the likes of ABVP and their mentors. People are unaware as to if the apathy is the centre’s or the states’.
Judicious use of this fund from time to time requires commitment, implementation of appraised projects and reviewing the progress of ongoing works. If only we had harshest punishment and toughest penalty for crime against women, working surveillance systems in public places, sensitive police force and a vigilant judiciary, then this Nirbhaya Fund wouldn’t have been a necessity at all. Allocation of funds alone will never solve problems. It requires people with integrity, honesty, intelligence and wisdom to prioritize issues.
Every politician actively acknowledges the problem of violence against women thereby engaging our society in the discourse around this in different ways. Suffice to say, the recent suggestion by our tourism minister on how foreigners should dress and conduct themselves here in India seems to insinuate much more than ‘what women wear is the real problem’.
Inauguration of a Sakhi Centre in Jharkhand: Just for a name!
SC reprimanded the State governments for underuse of Nirbhaya Fund while women vicitims undergo tremendous sufferings.
Even children cried for Nirbhaya, but the fund named after her is under-utilised while rape victims continue to suffer.
Crimes against women increasing while rehabilitation measures of the victims diminishing.