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Rape victims in India to get Rs 2 lakh compensation

According to the guidelines of the scheme formulated by the National Commission for Women the first instalment of Rs 20,000 will be paid out within three weeks of the application for compensation being filed by a rape victim

Victims of rape in India will get cash compensation of up to Rs 2 lakh under a scheme designed to provide them with relief as well to encourage the reporting of such crimes and improve rape conviction rates in the country. Only a miniscule percentage of women and children who are raped ever report the incident to the police.

According to the proposal announced by the Department of Women and Child Development under the Ministry of Human Resource Development if the rape results in death the kin of a victim will be paid Rs 2 lakh if the victim was earning. In the case of a non-earning person, the family will be paid Rs 1 lakh as monetary compensation. If the rape victim is a minor, the compensation will be paid to his/her guardian.

According to the guidelines of the scheme formulated by the National Commission for Women (NCW) the first instalment of Rs 20,000 will be paid out within three weeks of the application for compensation being filed by a rape victim. The application must be accompanied by a copy of the First Information Report (FIR) filed with the police alleging rape as well as a medical report confirming the rape.

The balance of the compensation amount will be handed over the course of the year, subject to the victim's cooperation with the police in the trial of the rape accused.

The department said that a District Relief and Rehabilitation Board, to be constituted by the various state government's will decide whether or not the victim should receive the remainder of the compensation. "The board, can reject any application if the applicant fails to cooperate with the police in bringing the assailant to justice," the proposal states. This will ensure that persons do not file cases only for financial gain, a ministry official said.

Headed by the district magistrate, the board will also constitute a monitoring committee to provide rape victims with legal, medical and psychological aid.

According to sources, the proposal has been sent to the Planning Commission of India for financial sanction in the 11th Five Year Plan that commences in the next financial year, beginning April 2007. "Each state, depending on the incidence of rape in the past few years will get an allocation in the budget from the planning commission", the official said. However, this statement seems strange given that the under-reporting of rape cases is a widely accepted fact and it is one of the problems that the scheme aims to tackle.

And while NCW's bid to get more rape convictions is laudable, the fact remains that it has been 15 years since the Supreme Court directed it to do so.

Source: Hindustan Times, May 11, 2006