The 1,000-crore fund announced by the central government for safety and security of travelling women after the fatal gang-rape of a Delhi student in December 2012 has been lying unspent for more than a year because no project has yet been finalised.
"A provision of Rs 1,000 crore has been made with the approval of parliament. But the fund is yet to be utilised as the relevant schemes are yet to be finalised," the finance ministry's department of economic affairs has said in reply to an RTI application on January 1 this year.
The government had announced a number of plans including installation of closed-circuit TV cameras in important public places, GPS and emergency buttons in public transport buses linking local police stations, toll-free numbers and self-defence lessons for the needy.
Though more than a year elapsed since the infamous gang-rape and murder, most of these plans remain only on papers. Officials in some of the 32 cities included in these plans have said they were yet to get any directive in this regard.
"Most of the announcements were cosmetic and no homework was done. The government's words and deeds should match. No serious thought was applied even after a year of the girl's death," said DB Vinu, an activist, who filed the RTI with the Union finance ministry.
On the eve of the first anniversary of the victim's death, which shook the nation and forced the government to bring in stricter laws, the Central government claimed that three projects cleared by Union finance ministry were being executed.
"But the RTI reply given just five days ago did not carry any of these details (about implementation). It won't be a surprise that next year we get the same reply that the scheme is under the serious consideration of the cabinet," said Binu.
Interestingly, in Kerala, a special office was set up by the state government under the scheme to look into the rescue and rehabilitation of sexual assault victims. But it is on the verge closure after its advisor Lida Jacob, a former IAS officer, quit in a huff complaining lack of governmental support.