Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy on Wednesday claimed there was no trend of crimes against women increasing in India.

The minister made the remark in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha about the National Crime Records Bureau 2017 report, which was released in October. He backed his claim by citing a comparison of the crime rates in 2016 and 2017. “He [Reddy] added that as per Crime in India report for 2017, a total of 3,59,849 cases of crimes against women out of total 50,07,044 cases of Indian Penal Code and Special & Local Laws (SLL) crimes were reported by States/Union Territories,” the ministry said in a statement.

The home ministry also listed the steps taken to ensure the safety of women. The Criminal Law (Amendment), Act of 2013, was implemented to deter sexual offences, it added, and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018, was passed to enact stringent provisions, including the death penalty, for the rape of girls below 12 years.

The Emergency Response Support System was introduced to provide immediate assistance during all emergencies, the ministry noted. A cyber-crime portal was launched in September 2018 to enable the public to report obscene content.

The ministry launched a National Database on Sexual Offenders in September 2018, and sanctioned the Safe City Projects in eight cities, including Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Chennai. In February, an online analytic tool was launched for the police to track cases, and a One Stop Centre scheme was introduced in April 2015 across India to provide integrated services, the ministry added.

“In addition to the above-mentioned measures, MHA has issued advisories from time to time with a view to help the States/Union Territories to deal with crimes against women,” the statement said.

The Centre was planning to amend the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure to expedite the cases of heinous crimes, The Times of India had quoted Reddy as saying on Sunday. The minister said the government was committed to early conviction of guilty people in serious cases.

The ministry’s response came amid a sudden increase in reports of sex crimes in India. Last week, a Hyderabad-based veterinarian was allegedly gangraped, and murdered. On Monday, a 40-year-old man was arrested for allegedly raping, and murdering a six-year-old girl in Tonk district. The same day, four men, including a former police constable, allegedly gangraped a minor girl in Odisha’s Puri district.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Uttar Pradesh Police said four men, including a Central Reserve Police Force soldier, were arrested for allegedly abducting and gangraping a 15-year-old girl in Mirzapur district.