Bhubaneswar: With the Priyanka Reddy rape and murder case sparking nationwide public outcry, the failure of the state governments to utilise Nirbhaya Fund released by the Centre for enhancing women safety has come into sharp focus.
Like some of the other states, Odisha has also invited flak owing to its poor performance on this front. A series of recent women-related crimes, including the alleged gangrape of a minor by a former policeman and his accomplices at a government quarters near Jhadeswari Temple in Puri on Monday, has put the ruling BJD dispensation on the backfoot.
According to data tabled by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development in the Lok Sabha, more than 91% of the money sanctioned to the states and UTs remained unused, as of November 2019.
Only Rs 147 crore of Rs 1,672 crore allocated by the Home Ministry has been used, it said.
Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura and Daman & Diu have failed to utilise even a single penny of Nirbhaya Fund.
The figures for Odisha are equally dismal. The state has spent less than 10 per cent of the sanctioned fund released in the last three years.
The total amount received so far under five components of the scheme is Rs 43 crore while the state has submitted utilization certificates submitted for Rs 3.1 crore.
1. The State has not utilized a single penny under the Department of Justice. The Centre had released Rs 5.4 crore under this head.
2. Odisha is at the bottom among 11 states in terms of utilization of funds (Rs 58 lakh) under Cyber Crime Prevention Against Women and Children.
This despite the fact that the state has been witnessing a rise in cyber crimes with 241 cases being registered in the first quarter of 2019. Registered cases of cybercrimes increased from 317 in 2016 to 824 in 2017 and 867 in 2018 in Odisha.
3. Central Victim Compensation Fund: Rs 58 lakh of the sanctioned Rs 22.7 crore has been utilized.
4. One Stop Centre: Only 54.46 lakh of 10.38 crore has been used. Odisha, however, utilized Rs 1.4 crore of Rs 1.9 crore under universalization of women helpline scheme.
5. Odisha also failed to utilize the released Rs 9.49 crore under Emergency Response Support System.
What is more worrying is the figures given by Minister of State, Home, Divyashankar Mishra recently to the Odisha Assembly involving incidents of rape against minors. In the first six months (Jan – Jun) of the current calendar year, 1,149 rape cases were registered and 52 per cent of total constituted minors, the Minister said.
If this was not enough, the latest statistics released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) revealed crimes against women are on the rise in the state. With 94 complaints per one lakh population, Odisha recorded second-highest number of crimes against women in the country after Assam in 2017. The State registered 20,098 cases of crimes against women during the year against 17,200 cases in 2015 and 17,837 cases in 2016.