A one-of-a-kind round table was held with various stakeholders under the chairpersonship of Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Minister of Women and Child Development to discuss the issue of cyber crime against women and children, particularly the elimination of online child sexual abuse material, rape imagery and other offensive material. The digital space is being increasingly used to perpetuate violence against women and children.
During the course of the discussions various Government stakeholders, industry bodies, Internet Service Providers Association of India along with social media agencies participated. The issue of data security was deliberated on by Data Security Council of India. Civil society was also represented.
It was decided at the round table that the following actions will be taken within the next 3 months:
- Build an international alliance to ensure full protection to women and children from the borderless nature of cyber crime.
- Development of an online Central Reporting Mechanism for lodging and escalating complaints of cyber crime from anywhere anytime.
- Making a mechanism for real time removal/blocking of offensive material online.
One Stop centres
193 One Stop Centres (OSCs), popularly known as Sakhi Centres are functional across the country. While interacting with media on WCD Ministry’s Achievements in New Delhi, the WCD Minister said that 193 Sakhi Centres have been established in the country for the Women affected by violence. The Minister added that the number of One Stop Centres would be increased to more than 600 by the next year. Over 1.3 lakh women have been assisted.
Special division on women issues in Ministries
The Minister also pointed out that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recently created special division to address the issues of women safety. The WCD Minister has written to all the Ministries to create the similar division. The Minister further shared that MHA is creating National Repository of Sex Offenders. The profile of sex offenders on this repository would be shared with the State/UTs.
Highlighting the projects appraised under Nirbhaya Fund, the Minister thanked the Prime Minister for giving the utmost priority to women safety and security, and said that projects worth more than Rs. 6,000 crores have been appraised under Nirbhaya Fund by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
NRI Matrimonial disputes
Speaking on the disputes in NRI marriages, the Minister said that WCD Ministry is in the process of issuing orders to the Registrars that NRI marriages have to be registered within 48 hours else the passport/visas would not be issued. The registrars would send the details of such NRI marriages to the WCD Ministry so that a Central database can be maintained. The Ministry has recently issued 6 Look Out Circulars in such cases and in 5 cases, passports have been revoked by the Ministry of External Affairs.
Advanced DNA Laboratory dedicated for women related cases
The WCD Minister laid foundation of Sakhi Suraksha Advanced DNA Laboratory on 1st June 2018 to process cases of sexual assault faster and more effectively to reduce case-backlog and deliver justice to Women and Children.Rs. 99.76 Cr has been allocated under the Nirbhaya Fund. Five more advanced forensic labs to be set up in Mumbai, Chennai, Guwahati, Pune and Bhopal in the next 3 months.
Specialforensic kits for rape cases: Underscoring the importance of the forensics in nabbing the culprits in sexual assault cases, the Minister said that special forensic kits for rape would be distributed to all the police stations and hospitals by the month of July. These kits would contain a complete list of evidence/samples to be collected along with the equipment required to collect the evidence. The kits would be locked and sealed before being sent to forensic labs.
National Policy for Women
- The Ministry has prepared the draft National Policy for Women, 2017 after considering over 15000 suggestions/comments received from stakeholders. While replying to a query by media person, the Minister replied that the Policy has been submitted to the Cabinet.
Death Penalty Ordinance
To provide for stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape with children, the Government approved an ordinance on death penalty amending the IPC and CrPC. A new provision for death penalty to rapists of girls upto 12 years of age was added.
BetiBachaoBetiPadhao scheme was launched in January 2015 with an aim of Preventing sex selection, Ensuring survival and protection of the girl child and Ensuring education of the girl child.
The encouraging trends are visible as per the latest HMIS data of MoH&FW for161 districts for the time period between April-March, 2015-16 and 2016-17indicating that;
i. Improving trend in SRB is visible in104 BBBP Districts
ii. 119 Districts have reported progress in first trimester registration against
the reported AnteNatal Care registrations
iii. 146 Districts have reported improvement in Institutional deliveries
First-of-its-kind online reporting and complaint management system for cases of Sexual Harassment at Workplace was launched in 2017. Around 191 complaints were registered on the portal and Ministry took action on them.
Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017
The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, became an Act on March 27, 2017. The Act extends Maternity Leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, making it the third longest in the world. Commissioning and adoptive mothers are entitled to 12-week Maternity Leave, provided the age of the child is less than 3 months. It also provides for mandatory crèche facility at organisations having 50 or more employees.
Training for Elected Women Representatives
MWCD has taken up the training of elected women representatives (EWRs) in panchayats from last year to empower them to govern their villages effectively and develop into grassroots change makers. It is aimed at improving the leadership qualities and managements skills of EWRs for better implementation of various schemes, impart knowledge on important legislations and monitor asset creation and public works. So far, 18,578 EWRs trained across the country.20,000 additional EWRs to be trained in 2018-19.
New Taxi Policy Guidelines
New Taxi Policy Guidelines for improved women safety were brought out in 2017 with better safety measures for women.Include mandatory GPS panic devices in all taxis, disabling of child-locking system, prominent display of driver’s identification with photo and registration number of the vehicle, sharing of seat to be subject to willingness of female passengers etc.
181 Women helpline
It is a country-wide toll-free number that provides 24-hour emergency and non-emergency response to women affected by violence. Over 16.5 lakh women have been assisted.
33% Reservation for Women in Police Force
- MWCD has been working along with the MHA to improve overall police responsiveness to gender sensitive cases and to bring visibility to more women in the police force.
- Advisory issued to all State Governments to increase representation of women in police to 33% of the total strength.
- 33% reservation has been extended in 10 states and 7 UTs
One Widow’s home with capacity of 1000 widows, fully funded by Central Government has been constructed at Vrindavan (U.P.) to provide safe and secure place of stay, health services, nutrition, food legal and counselling services.
Women in prisons
Report has been prepared based on the study of the condition of women and children in prison. Recommendations will be made to Ministry of Home Affairs and Supreme Court in this regard.
It was launched by the Prime Minister on 8th March 2018. It aims to achieve improvement in nutritional status of children (0-6 years), adolescent girls and pregnant women and lactating mothers with the objectives of:
- Preventing & reducing under-nutrition in children (0-3 year);
- Reducing the prevalence of anemia among young children (6-59 months);
- Reducing the prevalence of anemia among women and adolescent girls (15-49 years) and reducing low birth weight.
POCSO e-Box (http://ncpcr.gov.in/) was launched in August 2016 and is a simple and easy to use facility for children or any adult to register complaints of child sexual abuse or harassment. It is a direct online reporting mechanism. 1100 complaints were registered on the portal.
It is nationwide emergency helpline for children in distress. It is currently operational at 435 locations across the country. 1.8 crore calls are received every year since 2014.
Trackchild and KhoyaPaaya
The objective of the above two portals is:
- To ensure timely tracking of missing children
- To ensure speedy repatriation and rehabilitation of the missing children
- To ensure monitoring of children in Child Care Institutions
- To set up a framework for participating organizations involved in the process
173441 children have been matched through the system.