news Thursday, February 26, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | February 26, 2015 | 12:48 pm IST 

Last year, after reports of an alleged gang-rape of two sisters from Badaun surfaced, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi assured that the Centre would set up rape crisis centres in all districts in India by the year-end. 

“Even if there had been no Badaun, this was on my priority to establish functioning rape crisis centres. These centres would be serviced by policemen, lawyers, doctors...there would be ambulance and they will go hand in hand with a national helpline,” a PTI report quotes Gandhi as saying. 

However, the Centre has reportedly made huge cut backs in Gandhi's plan- from 660 such centres initially suggested by Gandhi to now just 36 of them, states a report by The TelegraphThe budget of the project has been cut from Rs 244.48 crore to Rs 18 crore. 

According to The Telegraph, "Officials in the PMO had objected to "wasting money" over standalone buildings, suggesting the centres be set up at government hospitals. Ministry officials felt this would make the centres too "public" for the victims".

"Our information is that the PMO (Prime Minister's Office) has remarked that the police are sensitive enough and that there is no need for such centres"Jagmati Sangwan of the All India Democratic Women's Association told the paper, adding, "This is a strong indicator of how the PMO is detached from reality, and shows this government's tendency for over-centralisation". 

Pointing out  the apparent flaws in the government's approved plan, Sangwan asks, "If a woman is raped in Jaisalmer, say, she will not go to a crisis centre in Jaipur".

Under the plan approved by the government now, each centre will have nine employees, including a paramedic who will refer the complainants to hospitals, a lawyer, a counsellor, and a retired police officer not below the rank of inspector to help the complainants file FIRs.

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