NEW DELHI: Slow release of funds are have delayed more than two dozen projects cleared under the Nirbhaya fund, escalating the cost of projects. According to data from the Ministry of Women and Child Development, of the Rs 3,100 crore allotted for the Nirbhaya Fund, the Central government has cleared projects worth Rs 2,650 crore, but only 30 per cent of funds (Rs 860 crore) has been released in the last three years for over 22 projects.
For some projects, not even a rupee has been sanctioned by the government. The government had apprised Rs 324 crore for an investigative unit for crime against women, Rs 25.53 crore for a unit for crimes against women and children of Delhi Police and Rs 83 crore rupee for organised crime investigative unit. However, till the last meeting of the inter-ministerial Empowered Committee in November, not even a single rupee has been released.
Similarly, a proposal for implementing a safe city project at a cost of Rs 110 crore for Bhubaneshwar-Cuttack is still waiting for its first installment of funds. “Delhi Police was to hire counsellors for rape victims to help them come out of the trauma, but so far out of Rs 5 crore, only 10 per cent has been allotted. We are unable pay counsellors, because of which some have stopped working for us,” a senior official of the Crime Against Women and Children Cell said.
The Nirbhaya Fund was set up with a non-lapsable corpus of Rs 1,000 crore during 2013-14. Another Rs 1,000 crore was provided in 2014-15, and an additional Rs 110 crore was allotted for 2016-17 and 2017-18. The corpus transferred to the Public Account for the Nirbhaya Fund up to 2017-18 is Rs 3,100 crore. The fund was set up after the December 16, 2012, gang-rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern.
The fund was set up after the gang rape by six men of a physiotherapy student on 16 December 2012 in Munirka in South Delhi in a private bus in which she was traveling with her friend. The incident generated widespread national and international condemnation.