What is the Nirbhaya Fund?

Nirbhaya Fund is an Indian Rs. 10 billion corpus announced by the Government of India in its Union Budget 2013. According to then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, this fund is expected to support initiatives by the government and NGOs working towards protecting the dignity and ensuring the safety of women in India. Nirbhaya (fearless) was the pseudonym given to the 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim to hide her actual identity. The Ministry of Women and Child Development, along with several other concerned ministries, will work out details of the structure, scope, and application of this fund.

In November 2013, the Ministry of Urban Development asked states to propose and implement new plans that can be financed through the Nirbhaya Fund.

The ministry has also notified States and Union Territories who would not get their quotas of new buses under the Jawahar Nehru National Urban Renewable Mission if they fail to put in place steps to Bharatiya Stree Shakti makes the public transport system safe for women. Some reports have appeared in a section of the press stating that the Nirbhaya Fund is underutilized.

The Ministry of Finance, Government of India had set up a dedicated fund called Nirbhaya Fund in 2013, for the implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and security of women in the country. It is a non-lapsable corpus fund. Under Nirbhaya fund, 18 proposals amounting to Rs. 2195.97 Crores have been received so far, out of which 16 proposals amounting to Rs. 2187.47 Crores have been appraised and recommended by the Empowered Committee.

As far as the application of the victim to access the benefit of the fund is concerned, very few applications are received by the department as compared to the cases. The fund has been allotted to the victim in very limited cases. There is an urgent need to sensitize the Nirbhaya fund officers to be more sensitive towards the victims and also taking special initiatives to make people aware of the benefits.

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