Women and Child Development Ministry chief Maneka Gandhi today held a press conference to highlight the achievements of the ministry in the past four years. Apart from speaking about the various schemes that came into existence after 2014 like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign, she announced a new feature called Rape Kits which are going to be available with police stations and hospitals for swift redressal in rape cases.

State governments will procure these rape investigation kits, that are financed by the Nirbhaya fund. The kit includes provisions for blood and semen samples. Not only will it aid in furnishing evidence in sexual assault and rape cases, but also contain instructions on the evidence that needs to be collected from the crime scene. After collection, police will send these locked kits with case number written on top to the forensic lab for examination.

The minister expressed her joy in starting this initiative. “It is new to India and we will complete it within two months. This is a big announcement and I am very happy that we have responded to it this way and once we have got proper identification of sexual crimes in all the areas and it goes to the forensic labs, then the timeline for rape and leading to conviction will come down by years.”

ALSO READ: POCSO Gender-Neutral, Payout For Male Survivors Too: Maneka Gandhi

She also revealed that the ministry recently used the Nirbhaya fund to start its first forensic lab in Chandigarh, where capacity-building has shot up to 1,000 from 155 cases per year.  “If you have a capacity to only look at 155 cases in a year, then you possibly cannot tackle any crime,” said the minister.

“It is new to India and we will complete it within two months. This is a big announcement and I am very happy that we have responded to it this way”

The ministry is also going to set up five more advanced forensic labs in Mumbai, Chennai, Guwahati, Pune and Bhopal in the next three months, bringing the total minimum annual capacity of the labs to 10,000 cases/year.

In the last four years, Gandhi highlighted that the ministry sanctioned 25 projects through the Nirbhaya Fund worth Rs. 6,312.46 crore. Some of the other amendments include the new taxi policy guidelines like sharing of seat subject to willingness of female passengers. Compulsory prominent display of driver’s identification with photo and registration number of the vehicle. The ministry emphasized on the one-stop centres and said that they have opened 193 centres across India and assisted over 1.3 lakh women. According to ministry, more one-stop centres are underway.

On the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign, the ministry said: “119 Districts have reported progress in first trimester registration against the reported Ante-Natal Care registrations. Additionally, 146 Districts have reported improvement in Institutional deliveries.”

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

Email us at connect@shethepeople.tv