Gender issues

Crimes against women reported every two minutes in India

As many as 2.24 million such crimes were reported over the past decade.

Crimes against women have more than doubled over the past ten years, according to latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau.

As many as 2.24 million crimes against women were reported over the past decade: 26 crimes against women are reported every hour, or one complaint every two minutes, reveals an IndiaSpend analysis based on the last decade’s data.

The semantic meaning of “crime against women” is direct or indirect physical or mental cruelty to women. Crimes directed specifically against women and in which only women are victims are characterised as “crimes against women”.


SourceNational Crime Records Bureau


Cruelty by husbands and relatives under section 498‐A of Indian Penal Code is the major crime committed against women across the country, with 909,713 cases reported over the last 10 years, or 10 every hour. 


SourceNational Crime Records Bureau; Figures represent cases reported. Note: Cruelty by Husband and Relatives (Section 498‐A IPC); Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage Her Modesty (Section 354 IPC); Kidnapping & Abduction of Women (Section 363,364,364A, 366 IPC); Rape (Section 376 IPC); Insult to the Modesty of Women (Section 509 IPC); Dowry Deaths (Section 304‐B IPC).


Assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (470,556), earlier classified as molestation under section 354 of IPC, is the second-most-reported crime against women over the last decade.

Kidnapping and abduction of women (315,074) is the third-most-reported crime followed by rape (243,051), insult to modesty of women (104,151) and dowry death (80,833).

More than 66,000 cases have been reported under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, over the last decade.

Ten cases of cruelty by husband and relatives are reported every hour across the country followed by cases of assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (5), kidnapping & abduction (3) and rape (3).

NCRB added three more heads under which cases of crime against women have been reported in 2014.

These include attempt to commit rape (4,234), abetment of suicide of women (3,734) under section 306 IPC and protection of women from domestic violence (426).

As many as 66% of women reported experiencing sexual harassment between two and five times during the past year, a 2010 study  in New Delhi had found.

Andra Pradesh leads in crimes against women

Andhra Pradesh has reported the most crimes against women (263,839) over the past 10 years.

The state ranks first in crimes reported for insult to modesty of women (35,733)second in cruelty by husband and relatives (117,458), assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (51,376) and fourth among dowry-related deaths (5,364).


Source: 
National Crime Records Bureau. Note: Andhra Pradesh figures for 2014 are inclusive of Telangana.


West Bengal (239,760) is second, leading in crimes related to cruelty by husband and relatives (152,852), second in kidnapping and abduction (27,371) and fifth in dowry-related deaths (4,891).

Uttar Pradesh (236,456) ranks third, followed by Rajasthan (188,928) and Madhya Pradesh (175,593).

These five states account for almost half of all the crimes committed against women across the country over the last decade.

Kidnapping of women up three times

Kidnapping and abduction of women is up 264% (a more than three-fold increase) over the past ten years, from 15,750 cases in 2005 to 57,311 cases in 2014. Uttar Pradesh is the worst-affected state, with 58,953 cases reported.

Police investigations have found that in places like Delhi, Agra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, denotified tribes (also known as criminal tribes), such as Bedia, Nat, Kanjar and Banjara, are involved in kidnapping minor girls, according to a report by the United Nations.

These tribes raise kidnapped girls as their own daughters, and then send them to Mumbai and Middle East to work in dance bars, brothels and escort services.

Madhya Pradesh (34,143) reported the highest number of rape cases in the last decade followed by West Bengal (19,993), Uttar Pradesh (19,894), Maharashtra (19,177) and Rajasthan (18,654).

Madhya Pradesh (70,020) also reported the most cases of assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty.

Around 35% of women globally have experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence, according to a 2013 global review by UN Women.

Some national violence studies show that up to 70% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner, the UN report said.

This article was originally published on IndiaSpend.com, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.

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India’s urban water crisis calls for an integrated approach

We need solutions that address different aspects of the water eco-system and involve the collective participation of citizens and other stake-holders.

According to a UN report, around 1.2 billion people, or almost one fifth of the world’s population, live in areas where water is physically scarce and another 1.6 billion people, or nearly one quarter of the world’s population, face economic water shortage. They lack basic access to water. The criticality of the water situation across the world has in fact given rise to speculations over water wars becoming a distinct possibility in the future. In India the problem is compounded, given the rising population and urbanization. The Asian Development Bank has forecast that by 2030, India will have a water deficit of 50%.

Water challenges in urban India

For urban India, the situation is critical. In 2015, about 377 million Indians lived in urban areas and by 2030, the urban population is expected to rise to 590 million. Already, according to the National Sample Survey, only 47% of urban households have individual water connections and about 40% to 50% of water is reportedly lost in distribution systems due to various reasons. Further, as per the 2011 census, only 32.7% of urban Indian households are connected to a piped sewerage system.

Any comprehensive solution to address the water problem in urban India needs to take into account the specific challenges around water management and distribution:

Pressure on water sources: Rising demand on water means rising pressure on water sources, especially in cities. In a city like Mumbai for example, 3,750 Million Litres per Day (MLD) of water, including water for commercial and industrial use, is available, whereas 4,500 MLD is needed. The primary sources of water for cities like Mumbai are lakes created by dams across rivers near the city. Distributing the available water means providing 386,971 connections to the city’s roughly 13 million residents. When distribution becomes challenging, the workaround is to tap ground water. According to a study by the Centre for Science and Environment, 48% of urban water supply in India comes from ground water. Ground water exploitation for commercial and domestic use in most cities is leading to reduction in ground water level.

Distribution and water loss issues: Distribution challenges, such as water loss due to theft, pilferage, leaky pipes and faulty meter readings, result in unequal and unregulated distribution of water. In New Delhi, for example, water distribution loss was reported to be about 40% as per a study. In Mumbai, where most residents get only 2-5 hours of water supply per day, the non-revenue water loss is about 27% of the overall water supply. This strains the municipal body’s budget and impacts the improvement of distribution infrastructure. Factors such as difficult terrain and legal issues over buildings also affect water supply to many parts. According to a study, only 5% of piped water reaches slum areas in 42 Indian cities, including New Delhi. A 2011 study also found that 95% of households in slum areas in Mumbai’s Kaula Bunder district, in some seasons, use less than the WHO-recommended minimum of 50 litres per capita per day.

Water pollution and contamination: In India, almost 400,000 children die every year of diarrhea, primarily due to contaminated water. According to a 2017 report, 630 million people in the South East Asian countries, including India, use faeces-contaminated drinking water source, becoming susceptible to a range of diseases. Industrial waste is also a major cause for water contamination, particularly antibiotic ingredients released into rivers and soils by pharma companies. A Guardian report talks about pollution from drug companies, particularly those in India and China, resulting in the creation of drug-resistant superbugs. The report cites a study which indicates that by 2050, the total death toll worldwide due to infection by drug resistant bacteria could reach 10 million people.

A holistic approach to tackling water challenges

Addressing these challenges and improving access to clean water for all needs a combination of short-term and medium-term solutions. It also means involving the community and various stakeholders in implementing the solutions. This is the crux of the recommendations put forth by BASF.

The proposed solutions, based on a study of water issues in cities such as Mumbai, take into account different aspects of water management and distribution. Backed by a close understanding of the cost implications, they can make a difference in tackling urban water challenges. These solutions include:

Recycling and harvesting: Raw sewage water which is dumped into oceans damages the coastal eco-system. Instead, this could be used as a cheaper alternative to fresh water for industrial purposes. According to a 2011 World Bank report, 13% of total freshwater withdrawal in India is for industrial use. What’s more, the industrial demand for water is expected to grow at a rate of 4.2% per year till 2025. Much of this demand can be met by recycling and treating sewage water. In Mumbai for example, 3000 MLD of sewage water is released, almost 80% of fresh water availability. This can be purified and utilised for industrial needs. An example of recycled sewage water being used for industrial purpose is the 30 MLD waste water treatment facility at Gandhinagar and Anjar in Gujarat set up by Welspun India Ltd.

Another example is the proposal by Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) to recycle and reclaim sewage water treated at its existing facilities to meet the secondary purposes of both industries and residential complexes. In fact, residential complexes can similarly recycle and re-use their waste water for secondary purposes such as gardening.

Also, alternative rain water harvesting methods such as harvesting rain water from concrete surfaces using porous concrete can be used to supplement roof-top rain water harvesting, to help replenish ground water.

Community initiatives to supplement regular water supply: Initiatives such as community water storage and decentralised treatment facilities, including elevated water towers or reservoirs and water ATMs, based on a realistic understanding of the costs involved, can help support the city’s water distribution. Water towers or elevated reservoirs with onsite filters can also help optimise the space available for water distribution in congested cities. Water ATMs, which are automated water dispensing units that can be accessed with a smart card or an app, can ensure metered supply of safe water.

Testing and purification: With water contamination being a big challenge, the adoption of affordable and reliable multi-household water filter systems which are electricity free and easy to use can help, to some extent, access to safe drinking water at a domestic level. Also, the use of household water testing kits and the installation of water quality sensors on pipes, that send out alerts on water contamination, can create awareness of water contamination and drive suitable preventive steps.

Public awareness and use of technology: Public awareness campaigns, tax incentives for water conservation and the use of technology interfaces can also go a long way in addressing the water problem. For example, measures such as water credits can be introduced with tax benefits as incentives for efficient use and recycling of water. Similarly, government water apps, like that of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, can be used to spread tips on water saving, report leakage or send updates on water quality.

Collaborative approach: Finally, a collaborative approach like the adoption of a public-private partnership model for water projects can help. There are already examples of best practices here. For example, in Netherlands, water companies are incorporated as private companies, with the local and national governments being majority shareholders. Involving citizens through social business models for decentralised water supply, treatment or storage installations like water ATMs, as also the appointment of water guardians who can report on various aspects of water supply and usage can help in efficient water management. Grass-root level organizations could be partnered with for programmes to spread awareness on water safety and conservation.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of BASF and not by the Scroll editorial team.