Citizens' Issues
Police nexus in trafficking an open secret: DCW chief

Maliwal, who at 30 is the youngest to take charge of this job, had recently equated prostitution with 'rape', drawing the ire of some activists

 

Swati Maliwal, recently appointed chief of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), says “police nexus” in trafficking of women to Delhi is an “open secret” and says rehabilitating sex workers was on top of her agenda.
 
Maliwal, who at 30 is the youngest to take charge of this job, had recently equated prostitution with "rape", drawing the ire of some activists.
 
Maliwal said that those involved in sex work were mostly doing so because of compulsion, not choice. Providing good career alternatives would enable women to leave sex trade if they so desired, she said in a detailed interview to IANS.
 
Maliwal, who was a personal aide of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal handling public grievances, said rehabilitating and improving the living conditions of sex workers was on top of her agenda. Free treatment for acid attack victims at Delhi's top hospitals and government jobs for them was her other focus area. 
 
Maliwal spoke to IANS at her central Delhi office and said she would work to keep DCW "fiercely apolitical". 
 
Excerpts:
 
Q: Amnesty International is planning to declare sex work as a human right. How does this apply to Delhi's red light area, GB Road?
A: GB Road is three kilometres from Parliament. But there is no cognizance of the plight of these women. After my visit, a group of sex workers came and said we want to get out of this (sex work). Nirmal Chaya (government-run home for women) is not the alternative. If we rehabilitate 50 women, that would send a message that we are serious about it. There are other issues like how to stop trafficking of minor girls. The moment you enter the area, some pimp approaches you saying baraah saal ki mast, teraah saal ki mast (12-year-old girl, 13-year-old girl).
 
Q: Those in authority and even police often say off the record that prostitution "prevents rape" of "decent women". Can a GB Road with its trafficked minors be running without a police nexus?
A: I strongly condemn this mindset. Most of these girls are being trafficked and in sex work because of poverty. For all those who are saying these things, please realise that this is not social work. Why should we put that moral obligation only on these women? The day I accept this, I will also be in GB Road doing what these women are doing. There is police nexus. It is an open secret. But if you close these brothels down where will these women go? They may get back to sex work in worse conditions.
 
Q: How do you intercept traffickers with a police force that may not be completely on board?
A: Trafficking is also taking place in Delhi through placement agencies. DCW is the nodal authority for registering these agencies. We are going to be working on this very soon. We are also trying to increase our presence in GB Road, too. Once that happens, the police will be a little wary about whatever is happening.
 
Q: DCW is often seen as a toothless tiger. How will you change this?
A: Teeth are very important. The reason I am not harping on that is because no work has been done in DCW till now. Present DCW's mandate is clear - making visits, recommendations to the government, taking suo motu cognizance of issues related to women, issuing studies, commissioning committees - none of that has happened so far. In eight years only two visits have taken place. The Delhi Dialogue Commission has recommended more powers for us in its Bill of Rights for Women like penal powers, powers of a civil court. But for the next three-four months, I want to focus on the existing mandate and set up systems.
 
Q: What are your plans for helping acid attack victims?
A: Their health is a very serious concern. The SC had ordered all government and private hospitals to give them free treatment and medicines. But it's not implemented. So we met Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain and he has appointed a nodal officer who will work with DCW to get these women treated at top private hospitals free of cost. The acid attack victims will be part of the task force on this. Second issue is low rate of conviction and long drawn legal battles. The government will now appoint a senior prosecutor to fight these cases. I got a proposal approved for government jobs for these victims from the CM when I was his advisor (public grievances). Now ministers will get them placed in the government according to their profiles. This is my first victory in a way.
 
Q: You had tweeted against the sexist comments made by three elected representatives, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Somnath Bharti, Bharatiya Janata Party MP Ramesh Bidhuri and Congress MP Gurudas Kamat. What about respect for women in politics?
A: No matter which party they are from, whether Somnath Bharti or Kamat, they are elected members and 50 per cent of the electorate is women. It's unfortunate that these statements were made in the House. The Speaker should take action. They (politicians) need to learn to respect women and speak in a proper manner about women. That's the least they can do.
 

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COMMENTS

Rajeev Juneja

2 years ago

I think Maliwal seems to be haeding in the right direction. She carries, grit and the will to go ahead inspite of ample obstacles. I think shes doing a great job... God Bless her...

Imports to be last resort, new defence policy to push Make in India

The defence ministry has recently cleared several big ticket proposals under the Make in India initiative and the new procedure will push it further

 

With Make in India the new mantra for defence manufacturing, the government has decided against importing equipment unless it is impossible to make it at home and this thrust on indigenisation will reflect in the new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), sources said.
 
According to thes highly placed sources, the modified DPP, a draft of which is ready and under discussion in the defence ministry, is expected to be finalised by the end of this month.
 
The document, along with provisions for encouraging domestic industry, will have its spirit summed up in a preamble that will stress on Make in India.
 
"The DPP will have a preamble, which will clearly state that every product should be designed, developed and made in India," a highly placed source told IANS, not wishing to be identified by name.
 
"Imports will be allowed only in case we cannot make it in India and as a last resort," the source said, quoting from the preamble.
 
The defence ministry has recently cleared several big ticket proposals under the Make in India initiative and the new procedure will push it further.
 
Among other provisions, the DPP is likely to initiate the process for a Technology Development Fund (TDF), with initial capital of Rs 100 crore, a defence ministry official said.
 
This fund will provide financial support to the public and private sector, including small and medium enterprises, and over 69 academic and scientific research and development institutions other than the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The fund will provide support for development of defence equipment and systems that enhance cutting-edge technology in the country.
 
There is a provision for promoting domestic manufacturing in the existing DPP under the 'Make Procedure' but officials said it was "not yielding results".
 
The government is now likely to provide 80 percent of the research funding for promoting domestic manufacturing in the defence sector.
 
Other changes being made in the procedure include formulating a way to address complaints, as even anonymous and unsigned complaints often delay the procurement procedure. There is also a proposal to redefine the procedure for blacklisting a company.
 
"Nuanced changes in the offset policy are also on cards, as the ministry felt the current offset policy is not effective," the official said.
 
"In most cases we are being forced to deviate or give concessions to the foreign companies because our policy is not right," the official added.
 
He said under the modified DPP, the offset policy will be linked to Make in India.
 
The modified procedure has a provision for asking foreign suppliers to forge links with Indian companies and manufacture spare parts in India.
 
"We have had discussions with the Russians, Americans, Britons and French on this (offsets) and we have got a positive response," the official said.
 
The Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) was first drafted in 1992 and reviewed in 2002. It was then revised in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2013.
 
A 10-member panel was constituted by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to modify the DPP document which gave its draft report last month.
 

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Pankaja Munde ups purchase order by three times in six days
Pankaja Munde, Maharashtra Minister for Women and Child Welfare increased the order for child growth monitoring machines to Rs18 crore from Rs6 crore in just six days 
 
Under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), successive governments in Maharashtra have allegedly misappropriated funds, partly allocated by the Centre, to unscrupulously buy child growth monitoring machines, by flouting procurement norms.
 
Pankaja Munde, Minister for Women and Child Welfare, Maharashtra placed two separate orders for procurement of these growth-monitoring machines – once on 4 February 2015 for Rs6 crore and then suddenly increasing the order within 6 days – on 10 February 2015 to Rs18 crore. Two contractors, Sai Hi-Tech Products and Nitiraj Engineers Pvt Ltd, were awarded the contract (share of 50% each). Strangely, and scandalously, Nitiraj Engineers was literally gifted the contract, without the company even asking for it. 
 
What’s more, Sai Hi-Tech’s factory in Pune is untraceable and both Sai Hi-Tech as well as Nitiraj Engineers have given their postal address as State of Manipur, although the other details of the address pertain to Pune and Dhule! What is interesting is the same Nitiraj Engineers was awarded similar contract in 2011, which specially mentions "transportation cost of the above (2,300) machines from Himachal Pradesh to Anganwadi at a rate of Rs200 per machine or Rs4.60 lakh". So where exactly is Nitiraj Engineers located? Is it in Dhule in Maharashtra, Dhule in Manipur or Himachal Pradesh?
 
On 4 February 2015, the Commissioner of Women and Child Welfare wrote to the Principal Secretary, stating that, “the WHO’s international Child Growth Standards are being implemented in the financial year 2014-2015 by supplying machines in 20 districts at 188 rural centres, 63 Adivasi centres and 66 urban slum centres. Thus, 7,852 machines would be required and each machine would cost Rs8,820. The procurement should be made from M/S Sai Hi-Tech Products, 365, Manjari Budruk, District Pune. The overall cost is Rs6,92,63,460.” 
 
Interestingly, in this communication, only Sai Hi-Tech’s letter dated 6 November 2014 was mentioned. (Anne 48) There was no communication from Nitiraj industries, as per any available record, seeking any order from the government for supply of these machines. Even then, Pankaja Munde, the Minister, strangely and audaciously, awarded the contract to Sai Hi-Tech and Nitiraj Industries in equal proportion in another letter dated 13 February 2015.( Anne 48A)
 
But, the malpractice does not end here. Suddenly, and strangely, on 10 February 2015, the Commissioner of Women and Child Welfare appears to have realised that the department needs an additional 20,729 machines of the same specification. What prompted the Commissioner to again order for such a huge number of machines is not known. But something concocted between 4th and 10th February. Interestingly, in this letter also there is no reference to any communication from Nitiraj Engineers (Anne49) .Even then the Minister issued one more order on 13 February 2015 of a whopping Rs18.37 crore contract, which was again equally distributed between Sai Hi-Tech and Nitiraj Engineers. (Anne -49A)
 
Pankaja Munde, the daughter of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s deceased leader Gopinath Munde, has been in the eye of the storm for the Rs206 crore-chikki-scam. While giving Pankaja a clean chit, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced setting up of the three-member Committee headed by the present chief secretary to investigate the chikki-scam.
 
Moneylife’s articles on this issue, Chikki moment: When the SCIC also keeps mum on RTI queries, Why Pankaja Munde cannot get away by saying sorry and After Chikki, now a biscuit scam! which went viral is but a tip of the iceberg of the scam. RTI activists have made documents of the biscuit scam public even as the CM and CIC are mum on the issue of putting them up in the public domain – mandatory under Section 4 of the RTI Act. As per the documents procured - on 12 February 2015, Munde ordered purchases of Ayurvedic biscuits worth Rs95.51 lakh. However, the very next day, that is on 13th February, the order was increased to Rs5 crore without any changes in the number of beneficiaries.
 
We hope the Chief Secretary looks into the latest crucial documents on the purchase of child growth monitoring machines by flouting procurement norms, to understand why there is no question of giving Munde a clear chit and the criminality involved at the expense of health and nutrition of infants, children and pregnant mothers. In addition, the malpractice of procuring material does not end with just chikki, Ayurvedic biscuits or child growth monitoring machines. There is more, like handmade paper, steel plates, sprinkles, protein powder, books, and plastic mats. Hope the three-member Committee headed by the Chief Secretary also looks in to all these aspects as well.
 
 
 

WHO Child Growth Standards

 

The new WHO Child Growth Standards confirm that children born anywhere in the world and given the optimum start in life have the potential to develop to within the same range of height and weight. Naturally, there are individual differences among children, but across large populations, regionally and globally, the average growth is remarkably similar. For example, children from India, Norway and Brazil all show similar growth patterns when provided healthy growth conditions in early life. The new standards prove that differences in children's growth to age five are more influenced by nutrition, feeding practices, environment, and healthcare than genetics or ethnicity.

 
 
Annexure 48
 
 
Annexure 48A
 
 
Annexure 49
 
 
Annexure 49A
 
 
Annexure 51
 
 
(Vinita Deshmukh and Vijay Kumbhar, both are RTI activists from Pune. Ms Deshmukh is also consulting editor of Moneylife, and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.

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COMMENTS

Victor

2 years ago

Both the companies are under DGS&D rate contract. So the prices mentioned are approved by the Director general of Govt. of India.
There can not be any dispute on that. Regarding the increase in number, it depends upon the funds available.
It is as per the requirement of the welfare department and availability of funds. Where is the AUDACITY involved in it? And why any of the supplier firms should write a letter to the government to increase the order? It is just a sham RTI enquiry.
Also, it is a regular practice of the companies to have a registered office in the states in which there are tax benefits. These companies may be located anywhere in India and they may show a registred office in Imphal, Aizawl or anyhere in India for that matter. To get a DGS&D rate contract is not an easy process, the RTI activists should know this. If they have to probe, they should challenge the DGS&D process.

TIHARwale

2 years ago

Otherwise Pankaja neice of Pramod Mahajan would be without Juta [Shoes] , like her forefathers. There is Marwari proverb " Jab maiy Marwad se niklo tou pauv mey nahi tha juta [ when I left Marwad i did not have shoes on my feet]" applies to Mahajan/Munde family.

TIHARwale

2 years ago

Pankaja Munde is neice of Pramod Mahajan so nothing surprising considering her lineage

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