Even as sexual offences against women in the State have grown nearly 3-times (2.9) between 2010 and 2020, the Odisha government seems to have a very lackadaisical attitude in implementing the multiple schemes for the safety and security of women under the Nirbhaya fund.
As per the NCRB data, the number of rapes in Odisha in the year 2010 had been 1025, the count of offences had risen to 2,984 in 2020. The rapes have been up by nearly 3-times, when the population of women in the State has risen by around 10 per cent to over 2.3 crore, from nearly 2 crore in 2010. The above comparison shows a swift rise in the rate of sexual violence in the State.
However, despite facing political backlash over the rise in crime against women in the State, the perplexing fact is Odisha government seems very lethargic in implementing the Nirbhaya Fund created after the gruesome 2012 incident in the National Capital.
As per the latest data available with Union Women and Child Development Ministry, Odisha has received Rs 75.86 crore under the scheme since inception, and the utilisation to date stands at Rs 47.29 cr. The utilisation ratio in State has been around 62 per cent. A comparative analysis with its neighbours tells a lot more.
- Chhattisgarh --- Saw an allocation of Rs 73.59 crore since inception. The utilisation to date stands at Rs 51.65 crore. The proportion of utilisation is over 70 per cent.
- West Bengal --- Allocation since 2014 stood Rs 100.34 cr, utilisation to date at Rs 92.58 cr. The utilisation proportion stands at over 92 pc.
- Bihar --- Allocation at Rs 81.97 cr, utilisation - Rs 34.97 cr. The rate of utilisation stood at around 43 per cent.
- Andhra Pradesh - -- Allocation had been at Rs 112.8 cr, utilisation - Rs38.25 cr. The rate of utilisation is around 34 pc.
Scheme Wise Odisha Report
One-Stop Centre Scheme: It is implemented across the country since April 1, 2015, to provide integrated support and assistance to women affected by violence and in distress, both in private and public spaces. The assistance ranged from emergency and non-emergency access to an array of services like police, medical, legal aid and counselling, psychological etc to fight against any form of violence against women.
- Odisha had received a total of Rs 13.546 cr since 2015-16, the utilisation stood at Rs 75.37 lakh.
Women Helpline Scheme: This scheme is intended to provide 24 hours immediate and emergency response to women affected by violence through referral (linking with appropriate authority such as police, One Stop Centre, hospital) and information about women related government schemes, programs across the country through a single uniform number.
- The total allocation to date stands at Rs 2.54cr, the utilisation stood at Rs 1.91 cr.
Mahila Police Volunteer Scheme: This has been envisaged to ensure higher reporting of crimes against women. The broad mandate of MPVs is to report incidences of violence against women such as domestic violence, child marriage, dowry harassment and violence faced by women in public spaces.
- This scheme is not implemented in Odisha, when neighbours like Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have received fund allocation.
Odisha has also not taken up any special women safety-related projects under the Road and Transport Ministry. Andhra Pradesh, UP and Karnataka have received funds from the ministry.
- Odisha has received an allocation of Rs 4.19 cr under the ‘Proposal for customization, deployment and management of State-wise AIS 140 vehicle tracking platform’ only in 2020-21 when the scheme was introduced in 2019-20. The utilisation till date is nil.
The most significant blip observed is, when under the scheme for setting up Fast Track Special Courts to dispose of cases pending trial under Rape & POCSO Act’, the State saw an allocation of Rs 5.4 cr in 2029-20, the utilisation as of date stands nil.
- The Fallout: As per NCRB data, the total minor rapes in the year 2012 was a mere 13 per cent of total rape victims. By the year 2015, the number of rape victims below 18 years constituted a whopping 47 per cent of total rape victims in Odisha.
- When rapes overall in State showed a rise of around 74 per cent during 2012 – 2019, rapes of girl child shows an elephantine growth of a shocking 645 per cent during the same period.