New Delhi: Against the backdrop of gruesome rape of a young Delhi girl in a moving bus, a Parliamentary panel has warned that mega cities could become a "dangerous place" for women and children if government does not take measures in right earnest.
The Committee on Empowerment of Women said the mega cities are turning "safe havens" for criminals despite having the modern police apparatus and suggested that there is a need for sincere effort to overhaul the "tattered policing system" in the country with an aim of giving it a human face.
The panel headed by Rajkumari Ratna Singh urged the government to set up an expert group to study the challenges faced in the form of increasing crime against women and children in mega cities and suggest "practical solutions" in tune with the needs of 21st century.
Even now, the panel said, the spate of crimes against women in mega cities has not been contained and cases of rape, molestation, abduction of women and children etc. Have become a "daily, shameful affair".
"The Committee are apprehensive that if effective measures are not initiated in the right earnest, all these mega cities would become a dangerous place for women and children," it said.
The 74-page report, tabled in the just concluded Budget session of Parliament, noted that 33,789 cases of crime against women were reported from 53 mega cities with over 10 lakh population in 2011 as compared to 24,335 in 2010.
It said Delhi topped the list of the cities accounting for 13.3 per cent cases followed by Bangalore, Hyderabad and Vijayawada. The committee was "astonished" to note that Delhi accounted for 17.6 per cent of rape cases, 31.8 per cent of kidnapping cases and 14 per cent of dowry deaths.
"All these statistical inputs explicitly point out to the
fact that all the mega cities in the country, which are equipped with relatively modern police apparatus, are being transformed as safe haven for criminals and anti-social elements who have scant regard for laws, law enforcement agencies and legal system," the panel said.
Referring to the December 16 gang-rape of the young girl in a moving bus in south Delhi, the panel said the mega cities received a "further shock" and the incident put the concept of modern policing and the concept of safety of women in "complete jeopardy".
The panel also expressed concern at the government for the proposed move to merge Swadhar and Short Stay Homes schemes saying it was aimed at "camouflaging" administration`s failure in executing it.
The Short Stay Scheme, launched in 1969, was aimed at providing temporary accommodation and rehabilitative services to women and girls rendered homeless due to family discord, crime and violence besides other issues.
The Swadhar scheme was launched in 2001-02 to provide primary need of shelter, food, clothing and care to women without any social and economic support.
"Though the Committee reserves their observations on the proposed merger... At the same time, they express their concern that various social welfare schemes are initially formulated by the Minister and soon thereafter, without making any realistic assessment, the schemes are merged or renamed on the pretext of financial norms," it said.