Some women are exploiting state's rape compensation scheme, claim officials

Department of Women and Child Development officials allege exploitation of provisions under government’s Manodhairya Yojana, which is aimed to rehabilitate sexual assault victims

It is regrettable, even criminal, that a few unscrupulous persons are exploiting the government scheme meant to compensate genuine victims of sexual assault, as officials allege. The state’s Manod-hairya Yojana, launched with the aim to rehabilitate victims and survivors of rape and acid attack, has so far compensated 265 people to the tune of R4.92 crore in Mumbai and Thane alone. But the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) officials rue that some women misuse the benefits.

A DWCD officer from Mumbai suburbs, said, on the condition of anonymity, “The scheme has benefited a lot of victims who were really shattered after the incident. Nothing can compensate what they go through in cases of rape and acid attacks. But the indemnity can at least help them bear medical expenses. However, it is sad that, in many cases, women have taken undue advantage of this. In some cases we found that the women accepted the compensation after they got married to the accused against whom they had registered the complaint. Very few have returned the amount in such cases.”

After the Shakti Mills gangrape case last year, the state cabinet on October 2, 2013 approved the Manodhairya scheme to provide financial, medical and legal aid, apart from rehabilitation and counselling, to victims of rape and child abuse.

Under its stipulations, each victim is eligible for Rs 2 lakh-Rs 3 lakh in the way of recompense: 50 per cent of the damages are handed out as soon as a first information report (FIR) is registered, while the remaining is doled out when the police file a chargesheet.

Citing abuse of the provisions, an officer from Thane DWCD said, “In one of the cases we saw that the victim had complained against her husband on at least four occasions, but they were living together. Finally, after the fourth complaint, an FIR was registered and we were bound to give her compensation.”

Shashikant Chavan, child welfare officer from Thane DWCD, said, “The local police stations submit copies of the relevant FIRs to our department. They are put up before the district committee, which then approves the case, and following this we pay the victims through cheque.”

Manodhairya Yojana (instituted Oct 2013)

Compensation
>> Rape & molestation of children (under POCSO Act): Rs 2-3 L
>> Rape: Rs 2-3 L
>> Handicap and disfiguring of face in acid attack: Rs 3 L
>> Minor injures in acid attack: Rs 50,000

Beneficiaries so far
>> DWCD (Mumbai city) has distributed around Rs 57 L to 35 victims
>> DWCD (Mumbai suburbs) has distributed around Rs 2.90 cr to 140 victims
>> DWCD (Thane) has dispensed more than Rs 1.45 cr to 90 victims

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