Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 31:
The Union government has proposed Odisha government to pay Rs 3 lakh as compensation to rape victims.
In a letter to the state Home department, the Centre has proposed for raising the compensation amount to rape victims from the current Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh.
Centre will compensate the state for the entire amount of Rs 3 lakh paid to the victim subject to a rider that it won’t pay a single rupee if the amount paid is less than Rs 3 lakh, says the letter. The decision to accept or reject the proposal has been left to the state government.
The Centre’s letter has sparked a debate in the Home department. In the event of state government accepting the Centre’s proposal rape victims and other victims will get more amount as compensation. Again there will be no financial burden on the state government since it will be compensated by the Centre.
Presently, victims of different crimes in the state are being paid compensation under the provisions of the ‘Odisha Victim Compensation Scheme-2012’ (OVCS-2012). In the last two years, the state government has paid about Rs 80 lakh on this account. Further, the Home department has proposed for an additional provision of Rs 2 crore allocations on this account in the supplementary budget this fiscal.
According to the provisions of the OVCS-2012, victims of rape will get Rs 1.5 lakh as compensation. In case of the victim being killed by the criminals, the affected family will get a compensation of Rs 1.5 lakh subject to the victim being gainfully employed. In the event of the victim being unemployed, then a compensation of Rs 75,000 will be paid. In case of acid attack leading to 80 percent disability, the victim will be paid a compensation of Rs 1 lakh. In event of the victim being unemployed the victim will get Rs 50,000 as compensation. With victim sustaining disability ranging between 40 to 80 percent, compensation of Rs 40,000 will be paid. In case of a child being subjected to sexual exploitation, a compensation amount of Rs 1.5 lakh will be paid. The OVCS-2012 has ten similar categories for deciding on compensation amounts which are applicable to both male and female victims.
However, in the Centre’s scheme the compensation amounts are higher. For acid attack victims it is Rs 3 lakh, for rape victims it is Rs 3 lakh, for physical torture of children it is Rs 2 lakh, in the event of death it is Rs 2 lakh, in cases of more than 80 percent disability it is Rs 2 lakh. The Centre has proposed for such enhanced compensation package in 12 categories.
If the state government provides such amounts as compensation from its own scheme and submits a proof of it to the Central government, it will compensate the state government from the Central Victim Compensation Fund (CVCF).
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has issued guidelines for the CVCF, aimed at encouraging the states to seriously implement the victim compensation schemes. These guidelines are a result of the directions of the Supreme Court in a PIL relating to acid attack victims.
After the infamous acid attack on her, Laxmi, a survivor filed a PIL in the Supreme Court in 2006 on various issues related to acid attack victims. The Supreme Court in its final order delivered in April this year, directed the state governments to strictly follow the laid down procedure for granting compensation to the victims.
It also directed the Union government to fix the minimum compensation at Rs 3 lakh.
Subsequent to this PIL, the Ministry of Home Affairs held consultations with various state governments & UTs and proposed setting up of CVCF that includes compensation to acid attack victims. The MHA has now issued detailed guidelines of this scheme.