NEW DELHI: Running short of ideas on how to spend the Nirbhaya fund, the Centre is now looking to adopt schemes on women’s safety, being run or floated by state governments.
The Nirbhaya fund, set up after the December 16, 2012, gang rape, has a corpus of Rs 3,000 crore. It was dedicated for the implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and security of women in the country.
However, even three years after the incident, there has hardly been any progress on ground. Most projects are still at the deliberation stage. To get around this, the Centre has decided to adopt some of the schemes, which have been floated by state governments, and for which funds had been sought from the Nirbhaya corpus.
Among the schemes, which the Central government is contemplating to adopt are those of the Kerala government, Bengaluru police and Delhi police, a senior official told The Sunday Standard.
“These are the schemes which had made presentations before us to seek funding from the Nirbhaya corpus. We are planning to adopt these schemes and implement them at the national level,” the official said.
The Bangalore police has proposed a programme for deployment of police vehicles at girls colleges and schools, outside Metro stations and many places prone to teasing and harassment of women and chain snatching. The programme also envisages round-the-clock deployment of NGO volunteers at women’s helpdesks in police stations and special advertisement campaigns to educate women about the safety programmes.
The Kerala government proposal envisages creation of a State Nirbhaya Committee (SNC) to formulate guidelines, directions and general superintendence of the project, creation of Nirbhaya District Committees (NDC) at the district headquarters for co-ordination and control at district level.
The Delhi Police scheme aims at creating awareness among women students about various aspects of sexual offences and instil confidence in them to seek help in such matters. The scheme called ‘Nirbheek’ has already been launched in Delhi in September 2015, wherein a Nirbheek woman police officer engages with girl students at various schools.
The campaign intends to encourage young girls to report such matters to police and involve their parents and the community, and seeks their participation in handling such sensitive issues. The girl students from classes six to nine also learn various self-defence techniques.
An empowered committee, chaired by the secretary of the Women and Child Development Ministry, will finalise the programmes for which funds are to be allocated. Other members of the committee include the finance and the home secretaries and representatives of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Department of Electronics and IT, Department of Economic Affairs and the Chairman of the Railway Board.
After approval by the committee, the proposal would be sent to the Ministry of Finance, budget division, for necessary budgetary allocations from the Nirbhaya Fund.
Some of the proposals which have been given the go-ahead by the committee till now are those involving small budgets like a One Stop Centre for rape crises management (Rs 18.58 crore) and universalisation of women helplines (`69.49 crore).
While funds amounting to Rs 10.71 crore have been released for One Stop Centres, an amount of Rs 13.92 crore has been sanctioned for women’s helpline to various states. The only swift progress has been in the scheme floated for One Stop Centres with sanction orders issued to 14 states and Union territories to establish the centres.
Two other programmes have been cleared in principle which are compensation fund for women in cases of sexual crimes and creation of investigative units for crime against women.