New Delhi: Even as the chorus of anger grew nationwide against several recent cases of rape and murder in the country, many states, particularly Maharashtra, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya and Sikkim, have failed to utilise even one per cent of the Nirbhaya Fund set up by the union government for safety of women.
The fund was announced in 2013 following the massive outrage over the 2012 brutal gang-rape and murder of a paramedic student in New Delhi.
Minister of Child and Women Development Smriti Irani said that after the Nirbhaya incident, several ambitious policies and schemes were formulated by the government under the Nirbhaya Fund.
“The Nirbhaya Fund was set up to help the victims of rape and ensure their rehabilitation. But formulation of policies is one subject and their implementation is another,” Irani lamented.
The minister informed that Maharashtra failed to utilise even a single penny of the allocated amount of Rs1.49 billion (Dh77.12 million).
Likewise, Manipur, Tripura, Sikkim, Meghalaya and Union Territory (UT) of Daman and Diu also did not spend any money from the allotted fund.
According to Irani, Manipur was given Rs87.87 million, Tripura Rs76.65 million, Sikkim Rs61.33 million, Meghalaya Rs67.53 million, and Daman and Diu Rs42 million.
Though the Fund was instituted in 2013, its disbursement gathered pace only from 2015.
“The major schemes and policies under which the states and Union Territories have been allocated money include Central Victim Compensation Fund, One Stop Scheme, Emergency Response Support System, Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children, Mahila Police Volunteer, and Universalisation of Women Helpline Scheme,” Irani informed.
Delhi, which was at the centre of protests following the Nirbhaya gangrape case, spent only Rs1.94 million out of Rs3.90 million of Nirbhaya Fund.
Irani informed that the Funds allocated for Emergency Response Support System, which envisaged a pan-India emergency number for police, rescue, health and fire services, also remained unused by as many as 18 states.
“Also none of the states and UTs have spent any money on the Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children programme,” she said.
What is the Nirbhaya Fund?
Nirbhaya Fund seeks to ensure better implementation of key governmental initiatives for enhancing safety and security of women across the country. It provides for a non-lapsable corpus fund to support initiatives by the government and non governmental organisations working towards ensuring safety and protecting dignity of women.
Ministry of Women and Child Development, along with several other concerned ministries, had worked out details of the structure, scope and application of Nirbhaya Fund in 2013.
The Fund, administered by Department of Economic Affairs of the Finance Ministry, was announced by then Finance Minister in his budget speech with government contribution of Rs10 billion. Various ministries have so far proposed several key projects to use this Fund.