The Rs 1,000 crore special Nirbhaya fund announced by the UPA government to bolster safety and security of women in Indian cities is still a long way from taking off.
The fund was named after the 23-year-old medical student, brutally gangraped in the capital last December who died a fortnight later. Almost eight months after finance minister P Chidambaram announced the creation of the fund during the 2013-14 general budget, Centre is yet to decide on specific schemes/ proposals for which the corpus would be utilised.
Last Friday, Chidambaram chaired the first meeting to discuss how the fund should be used. Various presentations were made on proposals prepared by different ministries including Home, Women & Child Development (WCD), Road Transport & Highways, Railways, Communications & Information Technology (IT) for improving women’s safety.
However, officials admitted that these are just initial proposals and it would take time to firm them up. “It is too early to finalise anything. This was just the first meeting where lot of ideas were discussed,” said an official who attended the meeting.
In an election year, policy makers say this dilly dallying might put a question mark on the government’s intention to live up to the promises it had made to make cities safer for its women.