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Nirbhaya fund in deep freeze

Nirbhaya fund in deep freeze
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Highlights

The UPA government announced the ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ in the 2013-14 budget with an initial corpus of Rs 1000 crore, to be spent on women safety initiatives. This was one of the outcomes of massive public outcry after the Delhi Rape incident. Since then, Rs 2000 crore has been added to the fund through annual budget. But even with Rs 3000 crore to spend and two years of time, not a single project has taken off.

The UPA government announced the ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ in the 2013-14 budget with an initial corpus of Rs 1000 crore, to be spent on women safety initiatives. This was one of the outcomes of massive public outcry after the Delhi Rape incident. Since then, Rs 2000 crore has been added to the fund through annual budget. But even with Rs 3000 crore to spend and two years of time, not a single project has taken off.


According the a portal https:// factly.in which aims at Making Public Data Meaningful, the gruesome Delhi rape incident and the massive nation-wide angry protests against the Central government’s pathetic response led to new legislation and policy changes. Apart from the Nirbhaya Act, Ministry of Finance, Government of India has established ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ with an initial corpus of Rs 1000 crore as per the budget announcement in 2013-14.


The fund is to be used for women safety pertaining to the strategic areas of prevention, protection and rehabilitation. In subsequent years (2014-15 & 2015-16), an amount of Rs 1000 crore has been provided under this fund. The total amount available is Rs 3000 crore. But the question that begs an answer is- how exactly is this money being used?


The Ministry of Women and Child Development has been assigned as the nodal Ministry to utilise this fund. The ministry received proposals from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and from the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH). The Women and Child Development ministry (MWCD) also sent a proposal.


114 cities identified: MHA has envisaged the establishment of an integrated Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) platform for supporting Geographical Information System (GIS) based Call Taking and Global Positioning System (GPS) based police vehicle dispatch function that will help to improve the efficiency in responding to women distress calls and provide speedy assistance.


The Project is to be implemented in 114 identified cities, which includes 54 cities having a population of more than one million, cities which are the capitals of the States/UTs as well as headquarters of 41 highly crime prone districts. The project involves a total expenditure of Rs 321.69 crore.


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal in February 2014 and sanctioned a total of Rs 321.69 crore out of the Nirbhaya Fund. But there is nothing to show in terms of progress. Unified system: MoRTH is setting up of a unified system at the National Level (National Vehicle Security and Tracking System) and State level (City Command and Control Centre) for GPS tracking of the location of emergency buttons and video recording of incidents in public transport vehicles.


In the first phase, 32 cities of 13 States in the country with a population of 1 million or more will be covered. Total estimated cost of the project is Rs 1404.68 crore. Two schemes: MWCD also proposed two schemes i.e One Stop Centre for Women affected by violence with a total project cost of Rs 18.58 crore and Scheme for Universalisation of Women Helpline with a total project cost Rs 69.49 crore.


No State or UT has sent proposal so far. Allocations: Rs 150 crore was allocated to MHA for the scheme to increase the safety of women in large cities (Schemes on backend integration of distress signal from victims with mobile vans and control rooms) and Rs 50 crore allocated to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on pilot scheme (Safety for Women on Public Road Transport). Both these allocations were made in 2014-15.


The proposals of the MWCD were approved to be funded from the financial year 2015-16. Implementation: There has been delay in the implementation of the project of MHA. Only preparatory activities were initiated. A project management consultant has been appointed and discussions with States/UTs have been initiated.


Other than this, there is no progress though the projects were approved 18 months ago. A contract has been signed between MoRTH and Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit Systems Ltd (DIMTS) to provide project management consultancy for implementation of the project.


Consultations were started with the beneficiary States/ UTs in a phased manner for informing them the details of the scheme and action required on their part for timely implementation of the scheme. Like the MHA Project, there is little or no progress on ground.


The only swift progress is seen in the scheme floated by the MWCD. So far, sanction orders have been issued to 14 States/UTs to establish the one stop centers. The ground reality is that there is little progress and nothing to show in terms of results. In other terms, women safety will remain a dream for many years to come.

By:Rakesh Dubbudu

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