Cabinet secretary-led panel to oversee lapses in Nirbhaya Fund use: Rajya Sabha committee
The Nirbhaya Fund was a corpus formed in the aftermath of the December 16 gangrape in Delhi in 2012.Updated: Mar 20, 2020, 13:37 IST
A Parliamentary committee has noted that since only 35% of the Nirbhaya Fund has been utilised across ministries till now, a panel headed by the cabinet secretary should oversee the lapses.
The department-related standing committee on human resource development (HRD), headed by Rajya Sabha member Satyanarayan Jatiya, noted in its report ‘Issues Related to Safety of Women’ that under the Nirbhaya Fund, of a cumulative amount of ₹7,436.66 crore, ministries and departments spent only ₹2647.89 crore on 32 different schemes for meeting expenditures to ensure safety of women since it was set up in 2013.
“The committee recommends that status of implementation of the projects under the Nirbhaya Fund should be overseen by a committee under the chairmanship of the cabinet secretary,” the committee observed. It has also recommended that 33% reservation should be implemented at all levels from the panchayat to the Parliament.
The Nirbhaya Fund was a corpus formed in the aftermath of the December 16 gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in Delhi in 2012. The case led to widespread protests across cities and classes in India and prompted a change in the country’s gender laws.
The 31-member committee also recommended that charge sheets in cases of gender-based violence, should be filed within 30 days, and bail should be denied to the accused; these cases should be disposed of within 6 months.
Noting that the conviction rate in rape cases is only 32% while charge sheets are filed in 86.6% cases, the panel asked the Union ministry of home affairs to create one help-line number for registering all such complaints. Among a slew of recommendations, the panel added that one police officer should be deputed in each police station to handle such cases.
To combat crimes against women in public means of transport, the panel has asked the road transport ministry to a create a data-base of drivers, conductors, helpers and associated staff, and recommended that the Railway authorities should also step up efforts towards this end, as only 1,050 of 8,500 railway stations in India have video surveillance.
Other recommendations include setting up of an anti-trafficking bureau and expeditious setting up of fast track courts on a permanent basis to decide cases of gender-based crimes within six months.