Following the footsteps of the Delhi and Kerala state governments, both of which have announced initiatives to enhance security for women, the Haryana government has announced a special drive, aiming to recruit women volunteers in each village across the state to curb crimes against women in rural areas.

The scheme which was introduced by the Union government has initially been launched in the Karnal and Mahendergarh districts, and will be extended to other areas later.

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Both these districts have 846 villages enlisted and research says that the villages will have one volunteer for a population of 4,000, and the number will not exceed two in case of heavy populated areas.  The Haryana Police and health department officials have stated that the special workforce would keep an eye on the crime against women and also stop female foeticide.

“This is basically a central government scheme. Karnal and Mahendergarh districts will be the launching pad for it. Following that, we will expand it across the state. As of now, the Union government has sanctioned an honorarium of Rs500 for each woman volunteer. The amount may increase, as the state government too has decided to contribute. Women volunteers will be given an appointment letter and a special badge to wear,” said Haryana’s additional chief secretary (home) Ram Niwas to TOI.

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“The women volunteers will be the most important link with the police and the villagers. Since they are locals, they will be better placed to counsel the victims in the first place. They will be an important part of information-sharing as well,” said Haryana DGP KP Singh.

For a state that is infamous for honour killings and a large number of female foeticide cases, this kind of an initiative is surely a positive one, and should make a difference at the grassroot level.

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