Centre to brief parliamentary panel headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma

The Centre will brief the parliamentary panel headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma on Tuesday on the measures taken for safety of women and children, including compulsory registration of first information reports, setting up of help desks and completion of investigation in sexual assault cases within two months.

Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla, along with other officials from the home ministry, is likely to appear before the committee with data on crime against women, compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), said officials. A report from the Uttar Pradesh government and Central Bureau of Investigation on the recent Hathras rape and murder case may be made available to the panel, they said.

The committee was recently reconstituted with Sharma as the chairman. Besides this, the reconstituted panel may further discuss issues related to the management of Covid-19, said a government official.

According to the 2019 NCRB report, India recorded 87 rape cases daily on average and 405,861 cases of crime against women in all during the year, up more than 7 per cent from 2018. UP recorded the highest cases of atrocities against SCs/STs (11,829) and crime against women (59,853), while Assam (177.8) and Rajasthan (55.6) reported the highest rate of crimes per 100,000 population against women and SC/ST respectively, as per the NCRB.

In July this year, the Union home ministry asked states to set up a “response mechanism” to promptly deal with incidents of crime against the “vulnerable, oppressed and deprived sections of society”. The directive was issued after the National Human Rights Commission took suo motu cognisance of alleged sexual exploitation of the vulnerable sections of society and inaction by the police and civil authorities, said officials.

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Every 16 minutes, a woman is raped, and every four minutes a woman is subjected to domestic violence, on average, as per NCRB data. The NCRB, which functions under the home ministry, is tasked with collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code, and special and local laws in the country. Among the metropolitan cities, Delhi stood first in crimes against women, with 12,902 cases, and Mumbai was second with 6,519 cases. The two cities were among 19 cities with populations of over two million each, said the NCRB report.

In 2018, the home ministry had set up a separate division to monitor incidents of crime against women and children, and advise states to strengthen measures for their safety. A National Database on Sexual Offenders for identifying and tracking repeat sexual offenders was set up later that year. The database has more than 500,000 names, accessible only to law enforcement agencies, said home ministry officials.

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