Nirbhaya Fund: How Government is Utilising it ?

IAS Prelims 2023

The Ministry of Finance, Government of India had set up a dedicated fund called Nirbhaya Fund in 2013, for implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and security for women in the country. It is a non-lapsable corpus fund.

Recognising the need to strengthen the mechanism for scrutiny and sanction of the proposals under Nirbhaya Fund, Ministry of Finance (DEA) has issued guidelines from time to time for administration and operationalization of the Fund.

As per the guidelines issued by Ministry of Finance dated 25.03.2015, Ministry of Women and Child Development is the nodal Ministry to appraise schemes under Nirbhaya Fund and also to review and monitor the progress of sanctioned Schemes in conjunction with the line Ministries/Departments.

Under Nirbhaya fund, 18 proposals amounting to Rs.2195.97 Crores have been received so far, out of which 16 proposals amounting to Rs. 2187.47 Crores have been appraised and recommended by the Empowered Committee.

Schemes of Ministry of Women and Child Development under Nirbhaya Fund:

Keeping in mind the need to have schematic interventions and proper mechanism for handholding of women in distress, 3 schemes i.e. ‘ One Stop Centre’, ‘Universalisation of Women Helpline’ and ‘Mahila Police Volunteer’ were initiated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development from the Nirbhaya Fund as follows:

i. Popularly known as Sakhi Centres, the One Stop Centre Scheme is being implemented across the country since 1st April 2015. It aims at establishing Centres to facilitate women affected by violence. It provides First aid, Medical aid, Police assistance, Legal aid and counselling support. 186 OSCs are approved to be set up in the country. So far, 79 One Stop Centres have become operational. All the 186 centres are expected to be operational by July, 2017.

ii. Helpline specifically for women with a common number across the country will link the One Stop Centres being established by the Ministry of Women & Child Development. The Department of Telecommunication has allocated the number 181 to all States/UTs for Women Helpline. So far, Women Helplines are already operational in 18 States/UTs although funds have been released by Govt. of India to 33 States/UTs.

iii. Mahila Police Volunteers (MPVs) will act as a link between police and community and help women in distress. Haryana has become the first state to start the Mahila Police Volunteer scheme. It was launched at Karnal on 14th December, 2016 for the districts of Karnal and Mahendragarh in Haryana. Other States are expected to implement the scheme soon.

Schemes of other Ministries/Departments under Nirbhaya Fund

i) Ministry of Home Affairs:

a) Emergency Response support System- For creation of an Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) with a total cost of Rs.321.69 crores which aims to integrate all emergency numbers to 112 with state of art technology. ERSS envisages an integrated computer aided emergency response platform to respond to distress calls and ensure speedy assistance to the distressed persons.

b) Central Victim Compensation Fund -A Corpus Fund of Rs.200 crores to be disbursed to States/UT for Central Victim Compensation Scheme (CVCF) framed under section 357A CrPC. This will support States/UTs in providing fund towards compensation to the victim or her dependents who have suffered loss or injury as a result of the crimes (including survivors of rape and acid attack).

ii) Ministry of Railways: Integrated Emergency Response Management System: This project of Railways at a cost of Rs.500 crores has been approved to provide round the clock security to women passengers in 983 Railway Stations by strengthening of Security Control Rooms of Railways with 182 Security Helpline, Medical Facilities, RPF and police, installation of CCTV cameras, etc.

iii) Abhaya Project Proposal (Andhra Pradesh): This proposal is for ensuring the safety of Women and Girl child during the transport (auto rickshaw) has been proposed by Andhra Pradesh with a cost of Rs. 138.49 Crores.

iv) CHIRALI: Friends Forever (Rajasthan) is a scheme to constitute Community Action Groups in 7 districts of Rajasthan covering a total of 2071 Gram Panchayats for a period of three years i.e from 2016-17 to 2018-19 with an objective to create an enabling environment that would support girls and women to move freely and make use of choices, spaces and opportunities for their overall well being. The cost of the Project is Rs. 10.20 Crores.

The amount allocated to different projects is approximately Rs.1530 Crores so far and the expenditure incurred is approximately Rs.400 Crores (as per the information available in the Ministry of Women and Child Development).