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Centre to set up, strengthen AHTUs, WHDs across country

ANI | Updated: Nov 03, 2019 04:43 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov 3 (ANI): The central government has announced to set up and strengthen Anti-Human-Trafficking-Units (AHTUs) and Women Help Desks (WHDs) across the country.
Union Minister Smriti Irani said that the Nirbhaya Fund will help set-up WHDs in all police stations and AHTUs in all districts across the nation.
"Nirbhaya Fund will help set-up Women Help Desks in all police stations and Anti-Human Trafficking units in all districts across the nation. The initiative is an example of interdepartmental cooperation leading to effective governance under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Irani tweeted.
"Grateful to Home Minister Amit Shah and @HMOIndia for speedy intervention and ensuring efficacy in fructifying this kind of the first-ever initiative to be implemented through NIRBHAYA Fund. It will go a long way in addressing women and children safety issues," she added.
On October 22, the Empowered Committee (EC) under Nirbhaya Framework, chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, favourably appraised two proposals to develop systems for operationalization of WHDs in police stations, for expansion of AHTUs to all districts, and for identified officers for dealing with crime and policing matters pertaining to women and children at district and States/ UT levels across the country, read a statement from Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The ministry pursued the matter with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) which submitted proposals for WHDs in 10,000 police stations and for AHTUs in the remaining districts of India, for funding out of Nirbhaya Fund, at costs of Rs 100 crore each.
Regarding setting up and strengthening AHTUs in all districts of states and UTs, the Empowered Committee considered and recommended the proposal for setting up AHTUs at cost of Rs 100 crore for safety and security of women and girl victims of trafficking, with the condition that a proper monitoring and reporting mechanism should also be put in place. 100 per cent cost of setting up of these AHTUs has been recommended to be borne by the central government under Nirbhaya Fund as per the MHA proposal.
"The EC has also suggested that psychosocial counselling and legal counselling and aid should also be made available through these AHTUs to the beneficiaries. The MHA has also been requested to ensure the nomination of State level nodal officers for coordinating and monitoring the functioning of AHTUs and sharing their data with the EC and the Ministry of WCD," the statement read.
For setting up or strengthening WHDs in police stations in all states and UTs, the Committee considered favourably and recommended the proposal for setting up Women Help Desks in police stations in all states and UTs at cost of Rs 100 crores to be funded 100 per cent by the central government under Nirbhaya Fund.
"WHDs would be gender-sensitive desks for grievance redressal of women through the policing system, as well as catalysts for improved community interaction of the police with a focus on crime against women and children. They would also help create a conducive atmosphere for distressed women and girls to approach the police stations without any hesitation and fear," the statement from the ministry added.
The committee has also suggested that these WHDs should preferably be headed by a women police officer, not below the rank of Head Constables, and preferably by women officers not below the ranks of JSI or ASI. Further, training, orientation and sensitization of both men and women police officials working at or in relation to WHDs at police stations, should also be taken up. Presently, as per the proposal of MHA, WHDs have been approved for 10,000 police stations.
However, the committee has suggested that the facility may be expanded to all the police stations in the country may be over a period of time or in phases.
Ministry of Home Affairs has also been requested to ask the states and UTs to notify nodal officers at district and state levels as early as possible to coordinate the functioning of the Women Help Desks and share the data with the Empowered Committee. (ANI)