The Centre is coming up with a scheme for the medical and legal aftercare of rape and gang rape survivors in POCSO cases if they are abandoned by their families.
What is Nirbhaya Fund?
- The Government of India established the Nirbhaya Fund in response to the Nirbhaya Case in 2013.
- It is aimed specifically at projects for improving women’s safety and security and is managed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD).
- The Empowered Committee (EC), which is composed of officials from several ministries and is chaired by the Secretary of the MWCD, recommends programmes/schemes for funding under Nirbhaya Fund.
- Some of the major projects under the fund are Central Victim Compensation Fund (CVCF), One Stop Centers (OSCs), Universalization of Women Helpline (WHL), Mahila Police Volunteer (MPV), etc.
- Since Nirbhaya Fund’s founding, the EC has approved programmes worth ~Rs. 9800 crores.
What is the Mission Vatsalya Scheme?
- Launched in 2021 by the MWCD, the scheme provides a roadmap to achieve development and child protection priorities aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- It lays emphasis on child rights, advocacy and awareness along with strengthening of the juvenile justice care and protection system with the motto to ‘leave no child behind’.
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 [JJ Act] provisions and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 [POCSO Act] form the basic framework for implementation of the Mission.
- The Scheme is implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in partnership with State Governments and UT Administrations to support them in universalizing access and improving quality of services across the country.
About the new Scheme
- In 2021, the NCRB reported 51,863 cases under the POCSO Act and 64% cases out of those pertains to penetrative sexual assault and aggravated penetrative sexual assault, respectively.
- The scheme (with an outlay of Rs 74.10 crore) aims to provide shelter, food, daily needs, safe transportation for attending court hearings and legal aid to minor girls who have been abandoned by their family –
- Due to forced pregnancy, either due to rape or gang rape, etc., and
- Have no other means to support themselves.
- The fund will help in setting up shelters for such victims. This could be in the nature of standalone shelters, or wards earmarked for such victims in existing CCIs, as state governments see fit.
- Thus, the new scheme aims to provide integrated support and assistance to girl child victims under one roof, facilitate immediate, emergency and non-emergency access to a range of services, including
- Access to education,
- Police assistance, and
- Health care, including maternity, neo-natal and infant care,
- Psychological and legal support
- Budgeting and planning processes must be informed by a deeper understanding of violence against women. The guidelines governing the use of the Nirbhaya Fund should be broadened to incentivise interventions in other areas, such as education, health, sanitation, public infrastructure and economic empowerment of women. For instance, Kerala, in its Gender Budget for 2021-’22, has allocated resources for medical care for women victims of violence, gender awareness in police stations and basic amenities in public places for women.
- A shift in approach is required towards preventing crimes against women, with a focus on behaviour change and sensitisation.
- Central ministries and states can be provided training on how to design and implement projects in these domains, in alignment with their specific needs.
- Annual allocations for the Nirbhaya Fund should be increased progressively so that existing projects can be strengthened and new projects in a wider range of domains can be financed.
- Given that this fund is limited, we must ensure that 100 percent of the money is utilised to assist women. The Ministry of Home Affairs can be given a separate budget for police reforms and part of those expenses can feature in the Gender Budget statement, as an overall commitment to increase safety for women.
FAQs – Mission Vatsalya Scheme for Rape Victims Minor Girls
The Mission Vatsalya Scheme was launched in 2021 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) with the aim of achieving development and child protection priorities aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The scheme focuses on child rights, advocacy, and awareness, with a strong emphasis on strengthening the juvenile justice care and protection system.
The basic framework for the implementation of the Mission Vatsalya Scheme is based on the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 (JJ Act) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 (POCSO Act).
The objective of the new Mission Vatsalya Scheme is to provide comprehensive support and assistance to minor girls who have been abandoned by their families due to forced pregnancy resulting from rape, gang rape, etc. The scheme aims to provide shelter, food, safe transportation for court hearings, and legal aid to such victims who have no other means to support themselves.
The scheme will provide integrated support to the minor girls under one roof, offering immediate and emergency access to various services, including education, police assistance, healthcare (including maternity, neo-natal, and infant care), psychological support, and legal aid.
The Nirbhaya Fund was established by the Government of India in response to the Nirbhaya Case in 2013, aiming specifically at projects for improving women’s safety and security. It is managed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and has funded projects like Central Victim Compensation Fund, One Stop Centers, Universalization of Women Helpline, and Mahila Police Volunteer.
The Mission Vatsalya Scheme is implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in partnership with State Governments and UT Administrations to support them in universalizing access and improving the quality of services for child victims across the country.
Some recommendations include broadening the guidelines governing the use of the Nirbhaya Fund to incentivize interventions in areas like education, health, sanitation, public infrastructure, and economic empowerment of women. There should be a shift in approach towards preventing crimes against women with a focus on behavior change and sensitization. Annual allocations for the Nirbhaya Fund should be increased progressively, and a separate budget for police reforms can be given to the Ministry of Home Affairs to enhance women’s safety.
The Mission Vatsalya Scheme’s focus on child rights, advocacy, and awareness, along with the strengthening of the juvenile justice care and protection system, can lead to better protection and development of children in India, in line with the SDGs.