By Sharanya Dutta
A new One-Stop Centre (OSC) has opened, spread across two rooms in the Sector 10 government hospital in Gurgaon. OSCs are meant to provide integrated services including medical, mental health and police services to women victims of harassment, violence and sexual assault, set up using money from the Nirbhaya Fund.
The office of the Director of Women and Child Development has said in response to an RTI query in August 2016 that the state government had planned the OSC for women in Gurgaon as there had been an increase in crimes against women in the city. Gurgaon has an OSC already in its Civil Hospital, but in 2015, it was reported to have been facing a crisis of its own.
Get this: the original plan was to have 660 such centres, one for each of the 640 districts in the country and 20 in six metros. But in February 2015, a budget cut from Rs 245 crore to Rs 18 crore brought this number down to 36.
On 8th March 2015, Maneka Gandhi announced the plan to set up OSCs by August 2015 using the Rs 3,000 crore Nirbhaya Fund. According to a Press Release by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on 29th April 2015: “In the first phase, one OSC will initially be established in each State/UT to facilitate access to an integrated range of services including medical, legal, and psychological support. The OSC will be integrated with 181 and other existing helplines. The scheme is being implemented through States/UTs from 1st April 2015.”
Haryana’s first OSC was inaugurated on 31st August, 2015, and five more have reportedly been approved by the state government in Faridabad, Bhiwani, Hisar, Rwari and Narnaul districts. In June this year, one was opened in Nagaland’s Dimapur District Hospital. In October, the DCW announced they would run 11 of them. Just days ago, one was inaugurated in Ujjain too.
On 29th July 2016, Gandhi announced that after the successful implementation of the first phase of the project where 17 OSCs were set up, the Government planned on setting up 150 more by April 2017.
In practice, there aren’t always OSCs even though they may exist on paper. Delhi-based Hidden Pockets, a mapping project based on sexuality and spaces, found this out the hard way when they visited Delhi government hospitals in search of one, even though RTI applications they filed did claim that they existed.
If you’re confused by the wild variations in reports on the number of OSCs proposed, the money allocated for them and the number of centres actually set up so far, then all we can say is, welcome to the club.