Here are challenges before Smriti Irani
New Delhi, June 08: Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Smriti Irani has many challenges to meet.
Her one of the toughest challenge is to bring West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on board to implement One Stop Centre scheme in their states.
Ministry of Women and Child Development has formulated a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for setting up One Stop Centre, a sub - scheme of Umbrella Scheme for National Mission for Empowerment of women including Indira Gandhi Mattritav Sahyaog Yojana.
Popularly known as Sakhi, the scheme is being implemented since 1st April 2015. These Centres are being established across the country in a phased manner to provide integrated support and assistance under one roof to women affected by violence, both in private and public spaces.
While Banerjee is known for not implementing many Centrally Sponsored schemes in West Bengal, Kejriwal government has not adopted One Stop Centre scheme as it wanted to use the fund meant for women safety to install CCTV cameras in Delhi and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses but the Union government has rejected the proposal.
Therefore, persuading Banerjee and Kejriwal to implement the scheme has become important for Irani. It would be interesting to watch whether she will succeed or not.
The fact of the matter is that though 314 One Stop Centres have been operating in different states but their potential is yet to be optimised up to maximum.
Irani's other challenges are to expedite the work done by her predecessor Maneka Gandhi in the area of women safety.
For example, a lot has to be done with regards to 112 number panic button on mobiles, Safe City Project, and Special Courts to hear the cases related to cyber crime, sexual harassment, and violence against women.
Many of these projects are being implemented through Nirbhaya Fund, which is Rs. 10 billion corpus announced by Government of India in its 2013 Union Budget.
This fund is expected to support initiatives by the government and NGOs working towards protecting the dignity and ensuring safety of women in India. Nirbhaya (fearless) was the pseudonym given to the 2012 Delhi gang rape victim to hide her actual identity.
While an amount of Rs 767 crore has been sanctioned for establishing Special Courts for women, Rs 200 crore has been allotted for the rehabilitation of women victims of sexual harassment and other forms of violence.
However, experts say that the fund is not being used properly in a time bound manner.
Since these days women are mostly affected by cyber crimes, an amount of Rs 224 crore has been earmarked in the Nirbhaya Fund but a foolproof plan to save women from cyber crimes is yet to be finalised.
Irani's another important challenge is to give life to the Safe City project, which has been envisaged for eight cities - Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Lucknow, and Hyderabad - to provide safe public space for women.
The epitome is that Irani and her team will have to tighten their belts to meet these challenges. For, still country's homes, work and public places aren't fully secure for women.