Finance minister P Chidambram in his budget speech had announced setting up of a Rs. 1,000 crore Nirbhaya Fund to be used to put in place infrastructure for better safety of women. The plans included putting up GPS system in transport systems and dedicated call centers for women safety.
The announcement had come after a 23-year-old paramedic student was gang-raped on the night of December 16.
Protests in the National Capital and elsewhere pushed the government to amend the legal provisions regarding sexual assault and creating the Nirbhaya fund.
Sources now, however, say that not a single penny has been spent from the fund set up in the finance ministry earlier this year as proposals were still being received on utilisation of the money being allocated.
The women and child development ministry had proposed a new programme to be funded from the Nirbhaya Fund, called Shubh, for vulnerable mapping of areas and categories of women who needed protection.
Other Central ministries like home, railways, communication and technology, and transport and highways too have submitted proposals but they are yet to be approved. The government, sources said was looking at mobile phone-based solutions to alert the nearest police station in case a woman felt that she was in danger. There was also proposal to install GPS systems in all public transport vehicles and police patrol vehicles. “The proposals are still under consideration,” an official said.
The government, initially, confident of getting the proposals expedited and ensuring its implementation before end of this financial year, meaning that it would have some results to show for on the ground before the 2014 elections.
There was a delay in the start of the fund because of a tug of war between the finance and women and child development ministries, as to where the fund was to be housed.
After initial protests, the women and child development ministry agreed that the fund can be administered by finance ministry.
In a year since the Delhi gang rape case, not much appears to have changed on ground.
National Crime Records Bureau’s latest data for 2012 shows that rate of crime against women in Delhi was second highest after West Bengal.