Thiruvananthapuram: At a time when the Kerala Government is preparing to implement an ambitious railway project spending over Rs 1 lakh crore, the reality is that the government is not even bothered to earmark enough money for granting medical aid to the survivors of sexual attacks in the State.
Hundreds of hapless women and children, who were subjected to sexual assaults, have been waiting for a long for the release of the medical aid from the government's relief fund.
The existing fund has been exhausted and the Woman and Child Development Department has now approached the government to sanction an amount of Rs 1 crore for funding the relief scheme.
The rise in the number of applicants is cited as the reason for the present crisis. Of the 291 applications which were approved, almost 200 applications belonged to the survivors of various POCSO cases.
Reduction in compensation
Meanwhile, the Woman and Child Development Department has come up with a new proposal that the children, who faced "sexual assaults with less intensity" should be given only Rs 10,000 in stead of Rs 50,000 fixed earlier.
The department has also brought a new condition that the applicants should apply for the benefit within three months after registration of the FIR in the police station.
When the scheme was launched in 2018-19, R 3 crore was kept apart. But since the project was launched in December, the entire amount could not be distributed within the stipulated period. In the subsequent years, only Rs 2 crore was kept apart annually for the scheme.
During the last two financial years, only Rs 1 crore has been spent out of the Rs 2 crore annual fund. But this year, the fund of Rs 2 crore got exhausted in November itself, with almost four months remaining for the financial year to end. Only if the Finance Department releases funds, the applicants will be able to get the medical aid this year.
Though the government reduced the aid for "sexual assaults with less intensity" by one fifth, it has doubled the aid given to the victims who had received more than 50 percent burns. Earlier, those who had suffered from the acid attack were given compensation up to Rs 2 lakh. But now, any survivor having received more than 50 percent of burns, is eligible for getting the compensation upto maximum of Rs 2 lakh.
Maximum aid Rs 2 lakh
Those who survived rape and sexual assaults would get compenstion in the range of Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. Those who became pregnant due to rape would get an additional amount of Rs 1 lakh.
If loss of life or loss of any part of the body is reported, the compensation is Rs 50,000 The survivors of human trafficking will get Rs 50,000. The compensation for those suffering from physical and psychological problems due to domestic violence is also fixed at Rs 50,000.
How to claim
The survivors of the sexual assault should give an application to the District Child Welfare Officer or the Distict Woman Welfare Officer within six months after registrtion of the case.
After completing the inquiry, the respective officer will forward the application to the State Nirbhaya Cell. Once the application is received there, the money will be deposited in the account of the survivor within two weeks.