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How the Rs 2000 crore Nirbhaya fund should be utilized? Give an idea
After the infamous Delhi gang-rape on December 16, 2012, which resulted into the tragic death of a 23-year old girl, the then UPA government announced a fund of Rs 1000 crore in the Union budget 2013 to set up infrastructure and support initiatives to ensure safety and security of women across the country.
The idea of the then UPA government was that Nirbhaya fund would be utilised to promote intiatives taken by both the government as well as NGO's towards women security. Union ministry of Women and Child Development and some other ministries were asked to work out details of the structure, scope and the application of this fund. However, only Rs 200 crore could be utilised out of this fund. Rs 800 crore went unused, probably due to lack of idea on how to utilise it.

Surprisingly in the Union budget for the fiscal year 2015-16 the government has increased the Nirbhaya fund from Rs 1000 crore to Rs 2000 crore. No doubt the motive behind constituting the fund is great, but how to use this fund in actual? What could be the best ways in which this fund should be used effectively for the safety and welfare of the women population in the country?

Neelam Katara, a social activist and mother of late Nitish Katara while giving an idea on how to use Nirbhaya fund says, "The people who are fighting against rape they should be allowed to engage the best lawyer, that they wish to. Another thing is, rather than giving it to charity it should be used for engaging psychiatrist and then providing them counselling and support. And the third thing is that the security measures can be enhanced, the state can use for preventive measures also, like lighting up the streets etc. I think this money should be mostly used for the prevention of rape."

Shruti Nagvanshi, a social activist from Varanasi who is committed to promote social justice, says, "In the cases of sexual assault women could be helped financially through this fund for their treatment and other needs. We have often seen that victims of domestic violence or sexual assault are not taken care of beyond their medical investigation. No one asks for the medication which is to be given to the surviving victim. So in that field funding needs to be done. Secondly, the physiological state of the victim is to be taken care of and some funds need to be allocated to this segment. There are so many shelter homes for kids, but there are no shelter homes for ladies (surviving victims), as they don't get family support at that time, so some provision should be there."

Sairee Chahal, Founder, Fleximoms says, "The Nirbhaya fund was allocated to make India safe for women - this includes rural and urban India. While Rs 2000 crores allocated over 2 years is not a lot but it can get the process started."

Sairee Chahal specified certain Key areas as given below where the Nirbhaya fund can be utilised:

Gender sensitisation: India deeply lacks a culture of gender sensitivity and dialogues around it. The fund can be used to create content and conversations around gender sensitization in Indian context. Most of the content can be channelled using public spaces, government owned mediums and educational infrastructure. Making gender sensitisation a part of workplaces, educational institutions and media will help bring issues to fore and resolve them.

Public spaces: Under developed public spaces and lack of infrastructure are a big deterrent to women's safety and the fund can be channelled to create safe pockets if not all of India, this will need a sync with urban space design experts as well as civic authorities.

Police and judicial infrastructure: Fast tracking cases related to abuse, violence and women's safety in judicial bodies as well as empowering non governmental organizations to assist in resolving pain areas will help move the needle in the right direction."

Dr. Shakti Bhan, a senior consultant gynaecologist at Apollo Hospitals says, "More lady police on the roads, this is one important thing. More of ladies special buses, more of ladies special taxis on the roads. Even if she is not a lady who is the driver, even if he is a man then you have to scrutinize the man thoroughly as it is a ladies bus or taxi. See, the basic thing is girls should be self sufficient and confident and then things will definitely improve."

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