The safety of women is the key to progress of society. This ideal underlines the vision and the action plan for Naya Haryana, says Capt. Abhimanyu. Traditionally, safety for women has been a low-priority agenda for the state administration of Haryana. Between 2008 and 2012, a total of 22,000 cases of crime against women were reported in Haryana - this is about 10,000 more than the neighbouring state of Punjab. In 2012, about 687 rape cases were registered in the state. Domestic violence tops the crimes against women in the state. According to a study by Punjab University, most cases of crimes committed against women in the state are cases of cruelty by the husband or other relatives of the husband. This is followed by cases of abduction and rape.
Capt. Abhimanyu believes that true safety and security for women needs a multi-pronged action process. Women of the state need to be empowered to be aware of their rights and of their value to the family and social set up. Recognition of the problem is the first and most important step to addressing the concern. Till early 2013, Sonepat was the only district to have all-women police stations one each in Sonepat City and Khanpur. In 2013, the state was promised three more all-women police stations one each in Gurgaon, Faridabad, and Bahadurgarh (Jhajjar District). Capt. Abhimanyu, however, has been voicing a demand for one all-women police station in each of the remaining 17 districts. Unless women's protection starts with law enforcement, very little can be done to better the condition of women in the state. Currently, women constitute a little over 6.7% of the police staff. This ratio needs to be increased to about 10-15%. Apart from the existing Women's Helpline, manned women Police Control Room vans must be available in all districts round the clock on all days of the week to enable emergency rescue operations.
According to the 2011 census, Haryana's sex ratio was pegged at 879 (women per 1000 men) way below the national average of 940 women per 1000 men. Year 2013 reports suggest that the sex ratio in the state is 881. To improve this count, Capt. Abhimanyu believes that awareness and pride in the legacy of strong women from the state needs to be created by the combined efforts of government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and social responsibility projects of corporates.
Women's education and employment is another field that needs to be targeted to facilitate the self-empowerment of women. 2011 census data shows that female literacy in the state is a dismal 56.91% of the population. Female education in the state needs major incentives and special schemes must be launched by the state administration. It is only when a girl child receives quality education and fair opportunities to achieve economic independence that the state of women in Haryana is likely to find any support. To achieve this end, the state needs a number of women's vocational training institutes.
The women of Haryana have been the backbone of the state's progress, says Capt. Abhimanyu. It is only when women's role in the social structure is acknowledged and given its due respect that the state can achieve its true potential. Education, economic opportunities, safety, sanitation, and healthcare are all fields which require a special women-centric focus. Naya Haryana shall be built on these pillars, he says.