The tussle between the Union finance and women and child development (WCD) ministries over how to make the Rs 1,000 crore “Nirbhaya” fund operational seems to have intensified.
Finance minister P Chidambaram had announced creation of the fund, aimed at bolstering safety and security of women, in his budget speech on February 28.
But the ministry, which has since then decided to administer the fund, is yet to finalise even a single scheme from among the half-a-dozen proposals submitted by stakeholder ministries including WCD, home, road and information technology (IT), on which money from the corpus could be used.
Now, irked over her ministry’s proposal being ignored by the finance ministry, WCD minister Krishna Tirath has shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week requesting him to intervene.
“Tirath has told the PM that despite her ministry sending a specific proposal to prevent violence against women the finance ministry has failed to take a decision,” said a source.
The WCD ministry had proposed doing a vulnerability mapping of crime prone areas in 94 cities across India and setting up local response unit comprising members of resident welfare associations and the local community to respond to victims in distress. Both the IT and road transport ministries proposed using technology like GPS to make public transport safe.
The WCD minister, sources said, has conveyed to the PM that this dilly dallying approach of the finance ministry might put a question mark on the government’s intention to live up to the promises that it had made in the aftermath of the December 16 incident to make India cities secure for its women.
Tirath is also peeved that her ministry’s proposal failed to find a mention in the official minutes sent by the finance ministry following a meeting chaired by Chidambaram on October 18 to discuss schemes for the fund.