WCD Ministry replaces MHA as nodal agency for Nirbhaya Fund
New Delhi, Apr 5: The government has made the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry the nodal agency for the Nirbhaya Fund in place of Home Ministry, which could utilise only one per cent of the pool set up after the brutal gangrape of December 16, 2012.
The Nirbhaya fund has a total of Rs 3,000 crore as Rs 1,000 crore each was allocated to it in 2014-15 and 2015-16 on top of Rs 1,000 crore initial corpus.
MHA had sanctioned schemes worth just Rs 200 crore. Top officials in the WCD Ministry said it will soon start the process of finalising schemes under the fund which was set up by the UPA government in 2013 to ensure safety and security of women.
"Since we are the nodal ministry now for processing proposals under Nirbhaya fund, we will soon start the process of finalising the schemes," said a senior WCD official.
The WCD Ministry after verifying various proposals will zero in on projects and schemes to ensure women security and their overall welfare, the official said.
Last week, government had issued guidelines for utilisation of the fund according to which various departments can seek money from the WCD Ministry for schemes to improve safety and security of women in the country.
Issuing the guidelines, the Finance Ministry said the WCD ministry would appraise these schemes to decide their suitability to qualify for getting funds from the Nirbhaya Fund.
Another official in the WCD Ministry said the funding aspect of various proposals will, however, continue to go through the Home ministry.
"It is the first step in this direction and probably it will take some time for us to completely take over the fund. Who will understand the concerns of women better than our ministry," the official said.
After selection of the proposals by the WCD, Home Ministry will have to sanction the funds.
"Suppose there is a proposal for providing martial arts training to women by a particular ministry or NGO, we will investigate all aspect of it," said the official.