A new report by NGO Oxfam India revealed that the Nirbhaya Fund set up by the central government to reduce violence and enhance women's protection is underused, underfunded and used for services that do not help women directly.
The fund that receives money from the home ministry, the women's welfare ministry, and the justice department are for programs that ensure women's security. Still, the non-lapsable corpus fund is underutilized and underfunded, notes the report.
Though the annual budgetary requirement stands at Rs 10,000 to 11,000 crore, set aside only for VAWG (Violence Against Women and Girls) programs that help women directly like the 181-women helpline, One Stop Center, Shelter Homes and Fast Track Special Courts, they formed only less than 0.07 per cent of the total union budget allocation in 2020-21.
By July 2019, about 33 proposals worth 5670.41 crores were approved, but only 41 per cent of the approved money was released, and only 61 per cent of the released money was utilized.
The fund allocations accounted for 62 per cent of the total women-specific allocations (BE) on VAWG in the Union Budget of 2018-19, 75 per cent in the budget of 2019-20 and 92 per cent in the budget of 2020. The five states Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, share half of the total allocations. Seventy-three per cent of the allocation goes to the ministry of home affairs (police), but it is unclear how much is spent on women's programs.
According to the report, the Safe City project followed by One Stop Centre and Fast Track Courts tops the list in terms of how money is released and utilized.