Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

A scheme yet to find its healing touch

In 2010, the Centre cleared a scheme for financial assistance and support services to victims of rape. ( Illustration: C R Sasikumar ) In 2010, the Centre cleared a scheme for financial assistance and support services to victims of rape. ( Illustration: C R Sasikumar )
Written by Aamir Khan , Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai | Posted: May 21, 2014 12:21 am | Updated: May 21, 2014 6:39 am

It’s been eight months since the state government launched ‘Manodhairya Yojana’, a scheme to provide monetary relief and rehabilitation for rape and acid attack victims, including women and children. But with little advocacy, lack of counsellors in civic-run hospitals, poor post-trauma support as mandated by the scheme, and most importantly, policy apathy, ‘Manodhairya’ risks being a laudable scheme just on paper. AAMIR KHAN and TABASSUM BARNAGARWALA speak to all stakeholders to understand what ails its implementation on the ground.

THE SCHEME

The state government’s department of Women and Child Development (WCD) flagged off the scheme, which provides monetary relief to women and child victims of rape and acid attacks, in October last year. According to the government resolution (GR) issued by Deputy Secretary M B Hajari on October 21, 2013, the scheme covers cases registered by the police for rape under Sections 376, 376 (2) 376 (A), 376 (B), 376 (C), 376 (D) and 376 (E). All cases registered under sections 3,4,5 and 6 of of POCSO Act and for acid attacks under sections 326 (A) and 326 (B) are also covered under the scheme.

The scheme calls for swift action after a case of rape or acid attack is registered at the police station. A committee headed by the district collector and comprising a police official, district medical officer (JJ Hospital medical officer in case of Mumbai), public prosecutor, representatives from a social organisation and WCD department, will meet within seven days of the FIR being registered (FIR). The amount will be disbursed within 15 days from the date of the FIR.

Victims are entitled to receive monetary relief between Rs 2-3 lakh. Acid attacks victims, who are maimed for life, will get Rs 3 lakh and Rs 50,000 will be immediately paid to those victims who sustain bodily injuries.

While 75% of the total compensation will be deposited in the bank account of the rape victims for three years, the rest 25% will be handed over to them within the prescribed period.

For victims below 18 years of age, 75% of the compensation amount will be deposited in their “minor accounts” for three years as “fixed deposit”. They will only be entitled to avail 25% of the compensation. The rest 75% will be made available to the victims when they turn majors or after three years, whichever is earlier. Minor victims can, however, make a representation before the committee and can avail the benefit of the deposited amount at their discretion.

Also, to victims who have been raped on the pretext of marriage and false promises, the committee will provide a relief of Rs 2 lakh, half of which will be paid at the time of registration continued…

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