Ahead of the Women's Day which falls on March 8, 200 rape survivors have received compensation under the Manodhairya scheme.
The files of these survivors, which were languishing in the state finance department, got a push ahead ahead of the code of conduct for the Lok Sabha polls and end of financial year.
WCD minister Varsha Gaikwad hurriedly disbursed the compensation using the contingency funds. However, 97 other rape survivors are yet to get the money as the funds weren't sufficient.
Gaikwad said, "After the scheme came to existence, scores of rape victims moved applications for compensation but as per the norms, only those victims against whom the offence took place after October 2, 2013 are entitled to the scheme. So far I disbursed cheques to over 200 victims and have personally handed it over to them of which some have been sanctioned last week."
Asked on why only 200 of the 300-odd victims who applied under the scheme have been given the compensation, she said that the funds were disbursed using Rs5crore from the contingency fund. "We are awaiting sanction of additional Rs17 crore under the scheme," she said.
Meanwhile, officials from WCD commissionerate said that while the files had been pending for over six months, it was the code of conduct that sped up the disbursement.
"Once the code of conduct comes into force, it is not possible to disburse funds. Also since the financial year end is approaching, the funds were lying unused and hence they were disbursed," said an official.
The scheme was launched on October 2, 2013 on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The scheme 'Manodhairya scheme' had ensured to give compensation to rape survivors. The amount ranged from Rs50,000 to Rs2 lakh in certain cases and maximum of Rs3 lakh in extremely severe attacks. The scheme involves paying compensation to the survivor besides counselling, medical and legal help and education as well as vocational education for them so that they can earn a living.
The highest number of beneficiaries are 18 from both Aurangabad and Buldhana, besides 13 and 11 from Sangli and Nagpur respectively.
Dilip Hivarale, deputy commissioner (WCD), said, "The decision of sanctioning the amount is taken by the District Criminal Injuries Relief and Rehabilitation Board which his headed by the district collector and five other members. Maharashtra is the first to implement it as compared to other states. Files of around 97 victims are pending."
Woman activist Kiran Moghe said, "The budget sanctioned is very less as compared to the sexual abuse they had to go through. Prior to sanctioning the budget, the state government must compare the total number of such cases filed as compared to National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) and accordingly allot the budget. Just compensating cash will not help the victims."
Dr Neelam Gorhe, women rights activist and spokesperson for Shiv Sena, said, "The time span of rape survivor getting compensation and time of attack need to be studied. It is like justice delayed is justice denied and victim must get compensation within 90 days. Even the family doesn't support her and she is left to fight her battles. If at such a time she gets help, she can become independent."