Women and children in an unsafe state

Dear Editor,
This is in response to the recent report released by the Minister of Women and Child Development on 1st November 2017,wherein Arunachal Pradesh ranks the lowest among North- East State in the Gender Vulnerability Index (GVI) of the country.
The state rank 26th in the GVI, slightly ahead of states like Bihar and Delhi is a matter of grave concern and need to be debated seriously by the State Govt.
State can’t declare itself a welfare state unless the safety and security of women and children are secured. It is high time for state govt. to retrospect at the loop holes to make it a welfare state.
I have worked in the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for seven years and during my tenure, I have personally seen various challenges being faced by the statutory body.
Now, it’s more than twelve years that the State Commission doesn’t have its own permanent building. There are only three regular staffs and the worst part is that the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, members and legal advisor are drawing Rs 15,000/- , Rs 14,500/-, 14,000/- and Rs 10,000/- as an honorarium.
Whereas, other Commissions with similar status are drawing better honorarium. Many of us question what the State Commission is doing.
Despite of various challenges, it’s rendering services to the women and children of the State.
On top of that the state govt. just to save its skin after the directive of the Supreme Court has given additional charge of the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights without any additional honorarium and staffs to the APSCW. Which means the Commission and its staffs are working for two vast departments within limited honorarium and salaries.
Most of the staffs at the Commission staffs are contingencies and are working dedicatedly and without any specific office time.
In this regard, the Commission has approached the State Govt. several times for the enhancement of honorarium and post creation.
However, till date no favourable or furthersteps have been taken. Such response from the Sate Govt clearly indicates that women and children are not one of their top priorities.
In the recently concluded State Assembly Session also not a single issue was raised for the welfare, safety and security of women and children.
Gender Budgeting is a powerful tool for achieving gender mainstreaming so as to ensure that benefits of the development reach women as much as it reaches men. It is not an accounting exercise but an ongoing process of keeping a gender perspective in policy/programme formulation, its implementation and review. Though there is allocation of GB in our state in every department, however, we don’t have Gender Cell till date to monitor whether the budget reaches the target groups. State Government must give top priority to establish Gender Cell.
We have a lone Women Police Station in the Capital Complex to deal with the cases of women and children. As per the last cabinet decision, Women Police Station will be established in every district.
However, it is yet to be implemented. Further, to strengthen them, it is very important to provide them proper infrastructure and human resources to deal with various cases.
As a woman, I have high expectation from the present state govt and do hope that it will accord top priority to women and children.
Kani Nada Maling
Former Legal Advisor