States with high crime rates against women too failed to utilise the allocated funds.
New Delhi: Many states and Union Territories have failed to utilise even half of the funds allocated under the Nirbhaya Fund. According to data provided by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in Lok Sabha, most of the states haven’t utilised their funds allocated under the Ministry of Home Affairs’ “Emergency Response Support System” (ERSS) scheme, while others merely utilised 20-40% of the funds.
It must be pointed here that the states where crime rates are very high against women are the worst performers with regard to the utilisation of funds. West Bengal, where the crime rate against women is 71.2%, has not utilised Rs 878.05 lakh allocated to it under the ERSS scheme. Despite the high rate of crimes against women, states like Assam, Odisha, Haryana and Delhi, too, have failed in utilising crores of funds allocated to them under the same scheme of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Delhi which records 160.4% rate of crimes against women—the highest in the country—has also failed in utilising the funds allocated to it under schemes such as “Universalisation of Women Helpline” and “Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC)”. However, the state has used 29% of the funds allocated to it under “Central Victim Compensation Fund (CVCF)”.
A look at how other states have utilised the fund under CVCF shows Uttarakhand, Bihar, Mizoram and Jharkhand have used more than 90% of the funds allocated to it. Rest of the states either under-utilised the funds or haven’t utilised at all.
Nirbhaya Fund, a Rs 10 billion corpus, was announced by the Union government in 2013 after the pseudo name of the 2012 Delhi rape victim. The Fund is expected to support initiatives towards the protection of dignity and ensuring safety of women. The corpus transferred
Rs 3,600 crore for the fund since 2018-19. Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Asha Devi, Nirbhaya’s mother, said, “The government announced the fund after the 2012 incident. But I have no idea how the government uses the funds. They have allocated some funds from the Nirbhaya Fund to the railways and the ‘one stop centre’ project under the Ministry of Women and Child Development. But they don’t seem to be spending where they should. It has been seven years, but Nirbhaya still hasn’t got justice. So what is this government doing for women?”
Kavita Kishnan, president of All India Progressive Women Association, told The Sunday Guardian, “The government should spend on rape victims. We have to hold them accountable.”
According to data given by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, there was no allocation of funds under ERSS, CVCF and CCPWC schemes for 2018-19 except, Uttar Pradesh and Lakhshadeep which haven’t received any fund in previous years. The two states received Rs 1,200 lakh and Rs 296.71 lakh respectively under the Emergency Response Support System. However, they too failed to utilise the funds. Crime rate against women in Uttar Pradesh is 47.5% and in Lakhshadeep it is 21.4% as per data of the National Crime Report Bureau, 2016.
“Women need more shelters, crisis centres and legal help. Not only compensation, rape victims need rehabilitation fund. But the government is not spending the money. That is because they don’t seem to be interested in helping women in need,’’ Krishnan added.
The Sunday Guardian also tried to contact Minister of State of Ministry of Women and Child Development Debashree Choudhury, but she refused to comment as she has taken charge very recently. Speaking to this newspaper, Independent MP from Amravati, Maharashtra, Navnit Rana said that there is a lack of awareness about the Nirbhaya Fund. Though this paper tried to contact other women MPs, most of them did not respond till the time of writing this report.