The brutal gangrape and murder of a veterinary doctor in Hyderabad has sparked massive protests across the country with protesters and lawmakers demanding stricter laws, death penalty and even public lynching of the four accused involved in the heinous crime. It was almost seven years ago that Nirbhaya, a Delhi student, was gang raped and murdered by a group of six sexual deviants which resulted in massive changes in the laws following country-western protests.
Nirbyaha Fund was established in 2013 by the Centre to ensure better implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and security of women across India. But little seems to have changed on the ground and a majority of states have been extremely reluctant in spending the amount disbursed under Nirbhaya Fund.
The data released by Centre showed that some states, including Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura and Daman and Diu have failed to utilise even a single penny of Nirbhaya Fund so far. Most of the states have failed to make use of even 50 percent of the fund allocated by the Centre under Nirbhaya Fund.
The data was presented in Lok Sabha by Union Minister of Child and Women Development Smriti Irani on November 29. The Union Minister tabled the data in reply to the questions raised by Lok Sabha MPs Mala Roy, Dr Kalanidhi Veeraswamy, A Raja, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Vincent Pala and Ramalingam S. The MPs had asked Union Minister Irani to table details of the funds sanctioned, allocated and utilized under Nirbhaya Scheme by different state and Union Territories.
According to data, Delhi has spent only Rs 19.41 out of Rs 390.90 allocated by the Centre in Nirbhaya Fund. The situation is disappointing in Uttar Pradesh too as the state government has spent just Rs 3.93 crore out of Rs 119 crore. Karnataka government is also lagging behind when it comes to utilising Nirbhaya Fund for the safety fund as only 13.62 crore out of the total fund of 191.72 has been used by the state government for the safety of women. Telangana government has also failed to make proper use of Nirbhaya Fund as the state has utilised a paltry Rs 4.19 crore out of total allocated Rs 103 crore under Nirbhaya Fund.
|Serial No.||State/Union Territory||Total funds sanctioned/allocated to State/UT (in Rs Lakh)||Utilization Certificate Received|
|10||Jammu and Kashmir||1256.02||324.53|
|30||Andaman and Nicobar Islands||653.08||147.05|
|32||Dadra and Nagar Haveli||420.00||158.00|
|33||Daman and Diu||420.00||0|
Andhra Pradesh has also spent less than 50 percent of money allocated under Nirbhaya Fund as the state government has spent only Rs 8.14 crore out of Rs 20.85 crore for the safety of women. Bihar has been allocated a sum of Rs 22.58 crore but the state government has utilised only Rs 7.02 crore.
Gujarat is also lagging behind when it comes to utilisation of Nirbhaya Fund as the total money spent by the state is only Rs 1.18 crore while the allocation by Centre is Rs 70.04 crore. In Madhya Pradesh, only Rs 6.39 out of Rs 43.16 crore allocated by Centre has been used so far. Tamil Nadu is also far behind in making use of Nirbhaya Fund for the safety and security of women as the state has made use of only Rs 6.39 crore out of total Rs 43.16 crore allocated. West Bengal was allocated Rs 75.60 crore by the Centre under Nirbhaya Fund but the amount used has been a meagre Rs 3.92 crore.
While demand for more laws are raised every time such a crime is reported, the lacklustre response to utilise Nirbhaya Fund for the safety of women sends a message that the state governments are not serious in bringing change in the lives of women.
The Nirbhaya Fund Framework provides for a non-lapsable corpus fund for safety and security of women to be administered by the Department of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Finance of the Government of India. Various ministries have proposed projects to use this fund with a view to enhance the safety and security of women in the country. Some of the ministries which have submitted such proposals are the Ministry of Information Technology, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Home Affairs.