The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has decided to shut down its 181 women’s helpline services, along with its rape crisis cell and mobile helpline, citing reasons for non-payment of salaries to its staff for two months.
On Friday, DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal, in her statement, alleged that the newly appointed member secretary Alka Diwan “refused to release two months’ salary to the contractual staff”.
The staff at DCW consist of acid attack survivors, dowry harassment survivors, orphans, most of whom get paid less than Rs 25,000 as monthly salary. However, the workload has increased a lot now. The commission dealt with 11,696 complaints and handled 2.16 lakh calls through its 181 women’s helpline in the past six months. Maliwal said, “5,733 cases have been dealt by the rape crisis cell lawyers in courts since the expansion of the cell, 1,869 sexual assault cases were dealt by crisis intervention centre counsellors and the commission has undertaken over 7,500 visits since its revamp.”
She said the commission had given more than 55 recommendations for recruitment to the government in the past year, but the proposals were still pending for approval. Maliwal said the DCW had to make short-term appointments as a stop-gap measure to deal with the workload. “It [DCW] even ensured that all staffers work on Saturdays to aid the distressed women of Delhi,” the statement read.
Maliwal also alleged that Diwan’s appointment to the post is illegal. She said, “Diwan’s appointment to the commission is absolutely illegal for there has been no notification from the government about the same and has simply been appointed through an office order.”
Most of the employees who have not received their salaries for the last two months earn less than Rs 25,000, and just 10 of the women earn above Rs 35,000.