Use of Nirb­haya fund for build­ing irks panel

The New Indian Express - - CHENNAI -

A par­lia­men­tary panel has found dis­crep­an­cies in uti­liza­tion of the Nirb­haya fund, with the money be­ing used for con­struc­tion of build­ings rather than for mea­sures to im­prove safety of women. The par­lia­men­tary stand­ing com­mit­tee on Home Af­fairs has taken strong ex­cep­tion to such us­age of the fund say­ing, such al­lo­ca­tions vir­tu­ally de­feat the very pur­pose of the project i.e women’s safety. The com­mit­tee, headed by Congress leader P Chi­dambaram, said it was of the firm view that funds for con­struc­tion of build­ings should come from other sources. “The com­mit­tee strongly recommends that the home min­istry should de­sist from sanc­tion­ing funds for schemes like con­struc­tion of build­ings from the Nirb­haya Fund and ad­here to its orig­i­nal pur­pose,” it said. The Nirb­haya Fund was started in 2013 by the Con­gressled United Pro­gres­sive Al­liance (UPA) govern­ment in the af­ter­math of the grue­some gang rape and mur­der of a phys­io­ther­apy stu­dent in New Delhi on De­cem­ber 16, 2012. The fund was meant to im­ple­ment ini­tia­tives aimed at en­hanc­ing safety and se­cu­rity of women. The com­mit­tee said sanc­tion­ing money from the Nirb­haya Fund for schemes per­tain­ing to com­pen­sa­tion would ren­der it as a fund for mere dis­bur­sal and would not have a de­sired im­pact on the ground in en­hanc­ing se­cu­rity. Ac­cord­ing to the panel, Rs 200 crore has been sanc­tioned as one-time grant for Cen­tral Vic­tim Com­pen­sa­tion Fund (CVCF) Scheme for com­pen­sat­ing women who are vic­tims of acid at­tacks, rape, traf­fick­ing, etc. While ap­pre­ci­at­ing the ne­ces­sity and sig­nif­i­cance of the CVCF Scheme the panel sug­gested that this scheme could have been funded from other sources. The com­mit­tee took note of the re­ply of the home min­istry that the de­creased al­lo­ca­tion made for ‘Schemes of Safety of Women’ was pri­mar­ily be­cause most of the ex­pen­di­ture out of the ap­proved outlay for Emer­gency Re­sponse Sup­port Sys­tem had al­ready been in­curred up to 2017-18.

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