Nirbhaya’s sisters continue to live in fear

It’s now three years since a woman in her early 20s was gang-raped and murdered by six men in the capital. The incident had led to widespread outrage and street protests, demanding women’s safety. Three years later, the situation has not improved much.

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Taru Bhatia | December 16, 2015




Rape cases on the rise

As per the latest data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), rape cases have increased since 2013.

  • In 2014, 36,735 rape cases were reported to police, up from 33,707 in 2013. One reason for this rise could be that more women are coming out of the stigma attached to the crime and reporting it. While the charge-sheeting rate stands at 95.6, the conviction rate stand much lower at 28.0.
  • Delhi recorded 86.96 sexual offences per one lakh women in 2014, making the capital the worst city in terms of women’s safety. In 2014, the Delhi police filed 7,849 cases of sexual offences against women, that included rape, attempt to rape, assault and outraging their modesty. In 2014, the number of rape cases reported were 2,096, up from 1,636 in 2013.


Nirbhaya Fund schemes remain on paper

In response to the growing protest, the then finance minister P Chidambaram announced setting up of Nirbhaya Fund in the union budget 2013-14, allocating '1,000 crore for improving women’s security. The ministry of women and child development (WCD) is the nodal ministry to evaluate and select the schemes for granting money from this fund to states and union territories. Proposals appraised and recommended under the Nirbhaya Fund so far:

One-stop centre
The scheme was proposed by the WCD ministry. Under it, a single centre will be established in 660 locations pan India. The centre will help women affected by violence with financial assistance and integrated support including medical aid, police and legal support, rehabilitation and counselling. The operational cost for the project is estimated at '18.58 crore. So far, it is operational only in six districts, as per the information provided in the Rajya Sabha in December by WCD minister Maneka Gandhi. These districts/states are: Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), Karnal (Haryana), Bhubaneswar (Odisha), Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Chandigarh.

What Delhi police has done

In response to the standing committee’s report to the Rajya Sabha, the home ministry claims to have taken the following steps:

  • 10 to 15 police personnel deployed in each police station to attend to women-related crime
  • 33 percent reservation of women in police force approved by the union cabinet in March 2015
  • Women help-desk made operational 24x7 in all police stations
  • Investigative officers sensitised in order to deal with sexual assault victims. Up to June 15 this year, as many as 4,714 police officers attended gender sensitised programme
  • Instructions issued to file charge-sheet in rape cases within 20 days
  • 3,932 CCTV cameras installed at 76 locations. The target is to install 5,200 more at 85 locations
  • 315 market areas identified to set up CCTV cameras in the fourth phase of the safe city project
  • Up to June 15, 2015, 72,496 women given self-defence training


Universal women helpline
The scheme proposed by the WCD ministry aims to integrate all the existing emergency numbers into a single women helpline number, 181. These helplines include 100 for police, 101 for fire, 1091 for women, 102 for medical support, 108 for emergency response service, 15100 for free legal service and 1098 for children. Estimated cost is '69.49 crore. The scheme is yet to be  implemented.  

Central victim compensation fund (CVCF)
The fund was proposed by the home ministry to support the states in providing monetary compensation to victim of sexual assault. Allocation of '200 crore was made to this fund.

Investigative unit for crime against women (IUCAW)
The home ministry proposed to set up investigative units in all police stations.  On a pilot basis, 150 such units will be set up in most crime-prone districts of each state. The ministry said that these units may consist of 15 personnel, preferably five of them women. Each unit will be headed by an officer of the rank of additional superintendent of police assisted by two deputy superintendents. Out of the total 2,250 personnel required for the 150 units, 750 will be women. Estimated cost for the scheme is '324 crore.

Security for women in public road transport
The scheme proposed by the ministry of road transport and highways is to ensure safety of women in public transport by monitoring location of state-owned and private transport. The plan is to set up a vehicle security and tracking system at the national level, and city command and control centres at state level. In the first phase, it will cover 32 cities, with population of one million and above, in 13 states. The project is under preparation stage. Its estimated cost is '1,405 crore.

 

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