The Telegraph
Sunday , June 29 , 2014
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Maneka push for women cops

- Minister writes to CMs to reserve 33 per cent jobs in force

New Delhi, June 28: Maneka Gandhi has written to the chief ministers of all states to reserve one-third of police jobs for women, taking the cue from the lady who succeeded Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state.

The Union women and child development minister has also asked members of Parliament to provide land for setting up crisis centres for rape victims.

Maneka’s letter to the chief ministers this week came days after Gujarat’s Anandiben Patel, who succeeded Narendra Modi as chief minister, announced 33 per cent reservation for women in the state’s police forces.

Sources in the central home ministry said the government would “soon” move a cabinet note for reserving 33 per cent of jobs for women in the police forces of all the seven Union territories, including Delhi.

Law and order in the Union territories comes under the Centre. But since policing is a state subject, Maneka has urged the chief ministers to take a “personal interest” in the matter to curb violence against women.

While the Gujarat model appeared to have been the immediate reference point for Maneka, it was the previous UPA government that had come up with a similar suggestion nearly five years ago.

The September 2009 advisory had asked all states to raise the number of women in their police forces. The advisory, which had emphasised the need to increase the representation of women in the police at all levels so that they made up about 33 per cent of the force, could not, however, bring about any major changes.

While the number of women police stations in India went up from 293 in 2004 to 510 in 2012, the average representation of women in the police is around 5 per cent: 84,479 policewomen in a 15.85-lakh-strong force, with Chandigarh police leading with 16.18 per cent women in its ranks.

The new NDA government is looking to change that. Realising that the involvement of the states is essential, Maneka, in her letter, has stressed that more women should be inducted into the police to make the force more sensitive to complaints of violence, honour killings and trafficking.

Crisis centres

Maneka has also written to MPs to provide up to 300 square metres of land for the proposed rape crisis centres in every district. The minister wants these Nirbhaya crisis centres, named in memory of the December 16 gang-rape victim, to be operational in at least 50 districts by the end of the year.

In her letter to the MPs, Maneka is believed to have written that this target could be “attainable only through your cooperation”. A proposal enumerating the financial requirements for the scheme has been forwarded to the finance ministry, the sources said.

The centres would work as a temporary home where trained personnel will not only listen to the complaints of the victims but also counsel them on their next course of action. They will have facilities for medical aid, officials to help the victims register FIRs, lawyers and even psychologists.

The ministry is planning to have at least one such centre in every district of the country.