Nirbhaya Fund to be utilised for one-stop crisis centres for women, says Maneka
Sunday evening witnessed union minister of women and child development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi speaking extensively on varied pertinent issues including required changes in Juvenile Justice Act, Adoption, Nutrition, Budgetary cuts in the ministry and other areas of concern, during an interaction with female journalists at the Indian Women’s Press Corps in the Capital.
On the ongoing Nirbhaya documentary controversy, Gandhi said that the government had taken an official position on the issue and she had nothing more to add to it. Asked about cuts in the allocation which have been done in her ministry she said, “It is not a questioning of slashing the budgets allocated to us but it is about re-organisation. The money has actually gone to the states as per the finance commissions recommendations where a part of funds have now been allocated directly to the States to be spent on the schemes for the welfare of women and children. In areas in the ministry where I think more money will be required I have written to the finance ministry and asked for more money.”
On the issue of adoption, she said, “The problem lies with the laws which need to be simplified so that the babies can find families. Also real time monitoring on a daily basis can help raise the nutritional level of children. The ministry is giving shape to a Nutrition Mission which will entail training anganwadis, redesigning the composition of meals given to children and pregnant mothers, and real time monitoring of the nutritional status of children.” Speaking on the JJ Act issue she said consultations on including changes in it are in process where there and various views have been aired on it. While she said she believed that there should be a process to observe and see that if a heinous crime is committed by someone who is 16 years old then he must undergo another re-evaluation of his criminal behavioural tendencies when reaches 18, to see if that pattern exists or not.
Talking about sex related crimes against women, the minister said, “The ministry is preparing a film on ‘Good Touch and Bad Touch’ to be shown in the schools so that the girls can learn to identify the difference between the two. The Government is very strict on the issue of sex related crimes against women and sexual harassment laws have to be taken very seriously. We are also setting up one stop crisis centres for women in distress which will be connected by a universal women’s helpline. 36 such crises centres will be set up, one in each state, to begin with.” She also proposed 33% reservation for women in police to make the system gender sensitive.
In another measure to tackle crimes against women, Gandhi also proposed appointment of women as Special Police Officers who will work as honorary police women and provide interface between the police force and the women affected by violence.