In the aftermath of the Delhi gangrape, the government may have promised a series of steps, including an overhaul of laws, but a key measure - a nationally accessible helpline for women in distress - is nowhere near take-off.
While some states do run toll-free numbers, such as 1091 in Delhi, a national helpline, experts argue, would help streamline response to women facing violence or rape, in real time.
The helpline will activate processes after a victim calls for help. "After a call is received, it would be immediately forwarded to women agencies selected by us in the respective state/districts which will act as crisis intervention centre. It will take the victim to hospital, get the FIR registered, provide counseling and all other support the victim needs," Prem Narain, Women and Child Development ministry secretary said.
The project which has been on the ministry's agenda for the last several years is in the process of having its financial and technical details worked out. Even the number is yet to be finalised.
"It takes time to fine tune these details. We are on the job but at the moment it is difficult to give a time frame for its launch. We are in the process of tying up with women agencies who will be provided monetary support by the Centre," Narain added.
The ministry has sought Rs. 200 crore for the helpline project.