Other States

State to use 65% of Nirbhaya Fund allocation by year-end

Work orders to the tune of ₹165 crore already issued

The Maharashtra government has said it will utilise 65% of the funds allocated under the Nirbhaya Fund by the year-end. Work orders of ₹165 crore have already been given out from ₹253 crore set aside for the State.

The move comes in the wake of Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani raising the issue of non-utilisation of the Nirbhaya Fund last week.

The minister had said in the Lok Sabha that the fund, set up by the Centre in 2013 to be used toward ensuring women’s safety, has seen a dismal 9% utilisation across States. Maharashtra is among six States to have not spent a single penny, she had said.

“We have so far issued work orders to the tune of ₹165 crore following an approval to the scheme by the State Cabinet in January 2019. The total share of the State is ₹100.80 crore, and the Centre will now give ₹152.20 crore,” Amitabh Gupta, principal secretary, State Home Department, told The Hindu.

The non-lapsable fund will be utilised by the end of the year on various programmes, including schemes meant for women’s safety. Senior officials said the State Law and Judiciary Department has been allotted ₹31.5 crore, which would be spent within the next week. “The Centre had first agreed to provide ₹149.40 crore but increased its share to Rs 152.20 crore,” said an official.

According to the data shared by the minister, the States have spent only ₹147 crore of the ₹1,649 crore sanctioned by the Centre. However, Maharashtra’s first step towards the scheme was taken in 2015 in the form of a one-stop crisis centre in Pune with the idea of ‘protecting the dignity and ensuring safety of women in India’, officials said.

The centre is among 36 like it, one in each State, proposed to be set up under the Nirbhaya Fund announced by then finance minister P. Chidambaram in 2013. The fund was part of a Woman and Child Development Ministry initiative following the brutal rape of a medical student in the Capital on December 16, 2012.

Among the State initiatives where the funds will be used are installation of CCTVs at 500 public places, a panic button in a mobile application, funds for tracking of abusers on social media, creation of mobile data terminals, and enhancing skills of officials by providing training, Mr. Gupta said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 3:43:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/state-to-use-65-of-nirbhaya-fund-allocation-by-year-end/article30333587.ece

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