NEW DELHI: Women's safety continued to be a burning issue in 2014 prompting Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry to propose amendments in a juvenile justice legislation besides announcing setting up of rape crisis centres across India.
However, as the year drew to a close, there was another blot on the capital's image with the alleged rape of a finance executive by a cab driver which triggered outrage and set alarm bells about women's safety.
WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi mooted the idea of a an exclusive taxi service for women travellers and said her ministry was in talks with some business enterprises to launch this facility.
The demands to have a graded approach to heinous crimes by juveniles got a boost in 2014 with change of government at Centre and new WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi taking over in May 26 and proposing major amendments to the JJ Act 2009.
The proposal which empowers the JJ Board to decide whether a juvenile aged between 16-18 years is to be tried in a regular court for having committed a heinous crime looking into mental and circumstantial conditions was approved by the Union Cabinet in August and introduced in Parliament.
Other amendments in the bill include facilitating faster adoption of children by making the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) the statutory body and setting up foster care homes, which were steps taken towards children welfare.
However, the ministry's initiative to set up rape crisis centres in all districts and bring in amendments in appointment rules in the 1990 National Commission for Women Act and grant the panel the powers of a civil court hit a roadblock.
The ministry is now identifying hospitals to set up rape crisis cells. It had earlier proposed setting up separate infrastructure and building for these cells.
Gandhi also pitched for 33 per cent women police force at all stations saying it would help in sensitising the police personnel to handle gender crimes.
In its efforts towards empowerment of women, the Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, a national credit fund for women, which remained inactive for a long time after being launched in 1993, was reconstituted and the ministry has set a target of covering 10 lakh women under it over the next three years.
Also, the herculean task of streamlining the functioning of Anganwadis across the country which provide services like post-natal care and supplementary nutrition to both children below the age of six as well as pregnant women under integrated Child Development Services kept the ministry busy.
Further, the Ministry's also launched country-wide 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' campaign with special focus on pregnant and lactating mothers, children under 3 and adolescent girls, to improve country's skewed child sex ratio (CSR).