Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia directed the Delhi Commission for Women on Thursday to conduct a social audit of shelter homes in the city through an external agency to examine the status and issues of the homes in a “non-partisan” manner, according to DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal.
Sisodia suspended two senior officials of the Women and Child Development department earlier this week after eight women and a minor girl had gone missing from a shelter home in east Delhi.
The Commission has engaged an external expert agency, ‘Koshish’, which is a field action project of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, to conduct the exercise, Maliwal said.
Koshish has earlier successfully conducted similar audit in other states, especially in Bihar where it was responsible for exposing the Muzaffarpur shelter home case. In an audit report submitted by the TISS to the social welfare department of the Bihar government, it was found that many inmates at the Muzaffarpur shelter home were subjected to sexual abuse.
An agreement was signed between the DCW and Koshish, the TISS in November and the Koshish team led by project director and assistant professor Mohd Tarique has started the social auditing of shelter homes in Delhi.
The Koshish team is visiting all the shelter homes in Delhi and auditing the same on various aspects which shall include the infrastructure, facilities provided, and rehabilitation and restoration efforts amongst others, the DCW said in a statement.
In a meeting with Maliwal and WCD Secretary Rashmi Krishnan, Sisodia said the Delhi government is “keen to overhaul and improve the functioning of all the shelter homes and has therefore invited an external agency to examine the status and issues of homes in a non-partisan manner and present a clear picture to the government”.
Sisodia assured that no issue shall be left unaddressed and the problems will be rectified on a mission mode, the statement said.
Maliwal said that a pilot social audit of shelter homes was initiated by the Commission in September and a report is being submitted to the government.
The Commission has now engaged TISS to independently conduct audits of all homes for women and girls in Delhi.
“It is an extremely significant decision taken by the Delhi government and the Delhi Women Commission and shall help in understanding the issues and resolving the same. Children and women residing in our institutions are our responsibility and we must do all in our capacity to ensure safe and healthy spaces for their growth and rehabilitation,” Mohd Tarique, Director, Koshish said.