Expand Nirbhaya fund beyond crime, include welfare schemes: Parliament committee

The committee has recommended that states should be encouraged to adopt innovative measures mentioned above in their women empowerment schemes for better outcome.

Published: 29th March 2023 11:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th March 2023 11:24 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for illustrative purposes only. (Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth, and Sports in its latest report presented in the Parliament on Tuesday, recommended that the guidelines governing the use of the Nirbhaya Fund should be broadened to incentivize interventions in areas like policing, assisting victims and empowering women with skill sets and knowledge to make them employment ready.

In its 350th report the committee, now headed by Rajya Sabha MP, Vivek Thakur, has observed that “apart from the focus on urban crimes in public spaces,” the scope of the Nirbhaya Fund, under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, “should be expanded to accommodate support and empowerment schemes like community policing in rural areas with an equal emphasis on psychological assistance to women victims and assistance for setting up women coaching centers for police recruitment which will help aspiring women candidates to get selected in the Police force and that will improve the representation of women in the Police force, especially in rural areas, which will eventually help to reduce crime against women and utilization of fund will also be improved.”

The 31-member Committee, comprising MPs from across the party lines, observed that the funds have been utilized for establishing a one-stop centre, making safety devices, setting up fast-track courts, and procuring forensic kits for sexual assault cases among others which help the security agency to curb the crime against women.

The Committee also notes that “emphasis on project features like optimum use of existing infrastructure and innovative use of technology have encouraged low-cost interventions oriented towards surveillance, reporting and investigation of crimes.”

The Committee further recommends that an empowered panel should hold discussions with the concerned officials of the state Governments to understand the ground reality and the aspects which are impacting fund utilization by states so that remedial action can be taken and projects can be fast-paced in coordination with states lagging behind.

In its assessment of the demand for grants by the MoWCD, the committee has observed that that the Ministry, on the aspect of finding avenues for CSR funds for building Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) has stated that to raise alternative sources of funding, states may involve individuals, companies, and CSR funds for the construction of AWCs purely on a pro bono basis without any obligations.

On this, the committee has suggested that it “is of the view that in order for CSR funds to flow into this social sector scheme, the Ministry would be required to formulate parametric guidelines with suitable incentives for corporates so that such sources of funding get enhanced,” observing that “theMinistry may discuss the matter with States and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and take suitable measures towards this.”

The committee also noted that Beti Bachao Beti Padhao – the flagship scheme of the government to end female foeticide and empower adolescent girls - has shown promising results in the recent past. The committee appreciates the new initiative and innovation under the scheme such as the Operational Manual that include an activity calendar for the whole year and the Kanya Shiksha Pravesh Utsav campaign in convergence with the Department of School education and literacy.

The Committee also lauds that the scheme has been expanded to all the districts and Ministry’s efforts towards skilling girls in non-traditional livelihood activities. It has also recommended that states should be encouraged to adopt innovative measures mentioned above in their women empowerment schemes for a better outcome.

India Matters


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