New Delhi: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sanctioned Rs 100 crores from 'Nirbhaya' Fund for setting up and strengthening of Women Help Desks in Police Stations. This scheme is set to be implemented by all the states as well as Union Territories, according to an MHA statement.
"Women Help Desks would focus on making the Police Stations more women-friendly and approachable, as they would be the first and single point of contact for any woman walking into a police station. Essentially, lady police officers would be deployed at these help desks," said the statement.
The officials of Women Help Desk would be trained to be sensitive towards women, it said, adding that these help desks would have enlisted panel of experts like lawyers, psychologists and NGOs to facilitate legal aid, counseling, shelter, rehabilitation and training etc."
Nirbyaha Fund was established in 2013 by the Centre to ensure better implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and security of women across India. But little seems to have changed on the ground and a majority of states have been extremely reluctant in spending the amount disbursed under Nirbhaya Fund.
Almost seven years ago, Nirbhaya was gang-raped and murdered by a group of six sexual deviants which resulted in massive changes in the laws following country-wide protests.
The data released by Centre showed that some states, including Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura and Daman and Diu have failed to utilise even a single penny of the Fund so far, while the majority of the states have failed to make use of even 50 percent of the fund allocated by the Centre.
The data was presented in Lok Sabha by Union Minister of Child and Women Development Smriti Irani on November 29. Irani tabled the data in reply to the questions raised by Lok Sabha MPs Mala Roy, Dr Kalanidhi Veeraswamy, A Raja, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Vincent Pala and Ramalingam S.
The MPs had asked the Union Minister to table details of the funds sanctioned, allocated and utilized under Nirbhaya Scheme by different state and Union Territories.
The Nirbhaya Fund framework provides for a non-lapsable corpus of funds for the safety and security of women to be administered by the Department of Economic Affairs of the Union Ministry of Finance. Various ministries have proposed projects to use this fund with a view to enhancing the safety and security of women in the country.