RTI query shows One Stop Centres are dysfunctional in UP

The reply admits that there is no web-based MIS model

woman-in-distress-call-worried-upset-shut Representational image | Shutterstock

The response to a Right To Information (RTI) query has revealed that while the state government is running one-stop crisis centers in all 75 districts, the numbers of these centres are not known to it.

RTI activist Urvashi Sharma, had on February 11, 2019 sought information on 10 points around the two integrated schemes, the 181 Women’s Helpline and One Stop Centres (OSCs)—flagship projects of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India (MWCD-GOI). Popularly known as Sakhi, the OSC scheme was launched across the country in April 2015, to address violence against women.

The questions in the RTI query included: details of agencies tasked with managing the universal helpline number 181, numbers of districts with operational OSCs and their phone numbers, details of agencies managing the OSCs—with a view to understanding whether web-based management and monitoring of cases from district to the central level had been made possible, how women helpline and crisis centres had been integrated, whether the state was following the Raipur web-based model or was considering implementation of the same, what alternative Management Information System (MIS) was being used to integrate the two and whether the government planned to continue without an integrated model.

It took the state’s Department of Women and Child Welfare more than a year to cull out the information and Urvashi received the responses on February 28, 2020.

The department responded that one-stop crisis centres were operational in all 75 districts of the state. Yet it did not provide the phone number of even one centre. The agency that operates the 181 helpline number is based in Secunderabad.

On the issue of integration, the department answered that when a district related call is received at the 181 helpline, it is referred to the particular district. This is not exactly as the scheme was envisaged by its parent department. The Women’s Helpline (WHL) and OSCs were designed to operate in an integrated manner, which means only one case file will be created for one case and the same will be shared by WHL and OSC. That file is also to be available on the web for intervention and monitoring.

The reply admits that there is no web-based MIS model for integration of the two. The Raipur model has not been implemented in the state.

The much praised Raipur model is an outsourced model which draws from the implementation guidelines that provide procedures and processes for implementation of the schemes, highlighting roles/responsibilities of various line departments and indicating monitoring and reporting formats for different levels. While as in the rest of India WHL is a 24x7 free phone helpline to provide a women in need access to both emergency and non-emergency response services. OSCs are established, one in each district of Chhattisgarh, to support WHL by facilitating under one roof, access to a range of services that include medical assistance in the event of violence, legal and psychological support, temporary shelter, police assistance, video conferencing to facilitate police as well as court proceedings, assistance in pursuing legal recourse/remedies and information and support to access social welfare schemes of the state government and that of the union government.

While the integration is yet to be worked out, the response says that the Sakhi dashboard of the Government of India is used to maintain data.

Urvashi said, “The information received to my query is just in the nature of a formality and yet it took the department more than one year to provide it. This government has talked big about technology and women’s empowerment but till date has not been to able to put up a website for the scheme. The response does not indicate any government plans to implement a web based model as envisaged by the scheme.”

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