How many of us who were outraged by the Delhi rape case a few months ago remember all the knee jerk promises ‘promised’ by a somewhat panicked Government. There was of course the new law and fast track courts. Need I remind you that the said case is still in court and no judgement has been pronounced as yet. Then we have the high court, the supreme court and review petitions. I wonder when the perpetrators will get their due. However this post is not about fast track courts and their protracted hearings. No, it is about something most of us and certainly me had forgotten till a magazine remind us of it. I am talking about the Nirbhaya fund, 1000 crore Rs which has been lost in bureaucratic mazes and of course not spent! The Nirbhaya fund was meant in our Finance Minister words to support initiatives by the government and NGOs working towards protecting the dignity and ensuring safety of women in India. The number of rapes and sexual assaults perpetrated on women across the board since is proof of the fact that nothing has been done to ensure safety of women.
The article I refer to is aptly entitled: the still born Nirbhaya fund! The fund is just that: still born. It has gone in the multifarious loops of what the called the Government of India! The Finance Ministry asked for proposals from other ministries and till date have got just three: one about strengthening police stations, the other for repairing women’s hostels and the third one for creating a red panic button on all cell phones. All this if cleared accounts for a mere 150 crores. If my maths are correct there are still 850 in the kitty.
As a citizen, I have no qualms about paying an extra cess for the safety of women. But after reading this article I would not part with a penny if I was given the choice. One ministry is still planning what to do.This is the Women and Child Development Ministry and one would things they are the ones who should come up with a proper plan, yet the proposal they are yet to send is about prevention, by changing mindsets. Wow. Would love to know how that is to be done.
In short the fund lies unused and the few ‘ideas’ mooted make not much sense. The funds will soon be released. As the author of the article says: Released into what is a question that is still, terrifyingly, blowing in the wind.
There is a panic button that needs to be pressed, pressed by people like you and me! We all know that the (in)famous food security is almost through. Will its funds also wait for proposals and mechanisms to be worked out while the poor, just like the women will have to wait for Godot while we remain frozen in silence.