NEW DELHI: Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani on Saturday said that women help desks will be set up in police stations across the country and more anti-human trafficking units established in all districts using the Nirbhaya fund.
The Nirbhaya Fund was announced by the Centre in 2013 after the sensational December 16, 2012 gangrape and murder case in the national capital.
Its aim was to support initiatives of the government and the NGOs working towards the safety of women.
Irani announced on Twitter that anti-human trafficking units would be established in all districts and women help desks set up in police stations across the country using the non-lapsable corpus fund.
She said the move aims to strengthen women safety and instil a greater sense of security among them.
"Nirbhaya fund will help set-up women help desks in all police stations & anti-human trafficking units in all districts across the nation.
"Initiative is an example of interdepartmental cooperation leading to effective governance under the leadership of PM @narendramodi Ji," she said in a tweet.
She said the move will go a long way in ensuring the safety of women and children.
"Grateful to Home Minister Amit Shah Ji and @HMOIndia for speedy intervention & ensuring efficacy in fructifying this kind of first-ever initiative to be implemented through Nirbhaya fund.
It will go a long way in addressing women & children safety issues," she said in another tweet.
On October 22, the Empowered Committee (EC) under Nirbhaya framework, chaired by WCD Secretary Rabindra Panwar had favourably appraised two proposals to develop systems for operationalisation of Women Help Desks (WHDs) in police stations.
These proposals were for expansion of Anti-Human-Trafficking-Units (AHTUs) to all districts and identified officers for dealing with crime and policing matters pertaining to women and children at district and state/ UT levels across the country.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development had asked the MHA to sanction Rs 100 crore each for setting up help desks at 10,000 police stations and for expanding AHTUs in the remaining districts of India.
At present, the AHTUs are functional in 146 districts of the country.
The Committee considered and recommended the proposal for setting up AHTUs at cost of Rs 100 crore for safety and security of women and girl victims of trafficking with a condition that a proper monitoring and reporting mechanism should also be put in place.
"The 100 per cent cost of setting up of these AHTUs has been recommended to be borne by the central government under the Nirbhaya fund as per the MHA proposal.
"The EC has also suggested that psycho-social and legal counselling and aid should also be made available through these AHTUs to the beneficiaries," the statement by the WCD Ministry said.
The Home Affairs Ministry has also been requested to ensure nomination of state level nodal officers for coordinating and monitoring the functioning of AHTUs and sharing their data with the EC and the Ministry of WCD, it said.
"WHDs would be gender sensitive desks for grievance redressal of women through the policing system, as well as catalysts for improved community interaction of the police with focus on crime against women and children.
They would also help create a conducive atmosphere for distressed women and girls to approach the police stations without any hesitation and fear," the statement said.
The EC has suggested that these Women Help Desks should be headed by women police officers not below the rank of head constables and preferably by women officers not below the ranks of assistant sub inspector.