In the last four years, nearly 7,000 victims of rape and sexual abuse have sought compensation under the state government’s Manodhairya scheme which seeks to provide financial, medical and legal aid to rape survivors. Two-thirds of these victims happen to be below 18 years of age.
Data with the state Women and Child Development department shows that a total of 4,491 minor rape victims and 16 acid attack victims had sought help from the government under this scheme which was launched in October 2013. A total of Rs 115 crore has been disbursed as compensation amount to these victims in the last four years. WCD officials said they had received 8,858 applications in all.
“The applications of 6,999 rape survivors have so far been approved. The compensation amount has been disbursed in a majority of cases, but there are some cases where the amount is yet to be given. For instance, in 451 cases, the rape survivors do not have bank accounts. At times, it is difficult to track the rape victim who leaves the place after the incident. There are 123 such cases where the rape survivor has left Maharashtra and not provided details of their new location. In 64 cases, the rape survivor has said they do not want the amount,” an official said.
A majority of cases are from Thane and Mumbai, state WCD officials admitted. Vijay Taware, Pune District Women and Child Development officer, said there were a total of 311 cases of rape and sexual abuse registered in the district from 2014 till June 2017. Out of these, as many as 209 were minors, he said. Nearly Rs 4 crore has been spent and a majority of the cases have received the compensation amount.
State govt revises criteria, entrusts power with DLSA.
The state has revised the criteria for those who can avail the scheme and increased the maximum financial assistance to Rs 10 lakh in cases where victims were mentally challenged or then suffered traumatic injuries after gangrape. At present, a maximum amount of Rs 3 lakh as financial assistance is given.
In an order issued on August 1 this year, the state government has also stated the possibility of misuse of the scheme and hence revised the criteria to disburse the amount. The financial help to victims would now be provided only after charges are framed in the rape case. Seventy five per cent of the sum will be kept as a fixed deposit for 10 years in the victim’s name. The state has also entrusted the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) with the power to sanction financial assistance to the rape survivors.
The order state that the district collector, who headed the District criminal injuries and rehabilitation board, was also in charge of several other committees and hence it was difficult to hold regular meetings to sanction financial assistance.