Delhi’s 181 helpline for women to operate from WCD department

Delhi's 181 helpline for women to operate from WCD departmentNEW DELHI: Delhi Government’s 181 helpline for women, which operates from the Chief Minister’s Office, has been attached with the Women and Child Development Department, fuelling fear that the initiative taken after the December 16 gang rape may soon run out of steam.

The helpline, set up by former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, will operate from the Women and Child Development Department’s office from July 1, government officials said.

According to the officials, the helpline, which drew a large number of complaints, may not remain as effective as it was before.

“Earlier, police used to act under pressure whenever a complaint would be made to 181 as it used to operate from the Chief Minister’s Office. But now, action on the complaint may not be prompt like before,” said one of the officials.

According to them, in the absence of a government, the helpline should have been operated from the Chief Secretary’s office or should have been transferred to the Lieutenant Governor’s office so that it could work properly.

“Recently, a committee constituted by the Chief Secretary has recommended that since the subject matter is closely related to the Women and Child Development Department and it has required infrastructure and manpower, the supervisory and administrative jurisdiction of 181 helpline may be entrusted upon the department and one senior officer should be put in charge of the helpline,” said the official.

The last review of the helpline’s functioning was done by Dikshit in September 2013. Even during the 49 days of Aam Aadmi Party’s regime, it was neglected.

The helpline has received over eight lakh calls since its inception on December 31, 2012 to May 31, 2014.–PIT