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Three Proposals of Different Ministries Approved in-Principle by the Ministry of Finance to Utilise the Resources in the Nirbhaya Fund to Enhance the Safety and Security of Women
 
 
 

New Delhi December 17, 2013: In the Budget speech on 28.2.2013, the Union Finance Minister Shri P.Chidambaram had announced that the Government will set-up a Fund called the Nirbhaya Fund and contribute Rs.1000 crore to the Fund.

            The amount of Rs.1000 crore could be transferred only during the first Supplementary Demands for Grants.  The Appropriation Bill was approved by Parliament on 7.9.2013 and received the assent of the President of India only on 11.9.2013.

            Ministries/Departments concerned were requested to formulate proposals to utilise the resources in the Fund with a view to enhance the safety and security of women in the country.  After several rounds of consultations, following three proposals have been approved in-principle by the Ministry of Finance, details of which are given below.  The Ministry/Department concerned has been requested to move the Cabinet for approval.

(i)         Proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs designed in consultation with Ministry of Information Technology:  Integration of the police administration with the mobile phone network to trace and respond to distress calls with minimum response time.  Instructions will be issued by the Ministry of Information Technology to all mobile phone manufacturers to introduce, mandatorily, an SOS alert button in all the handsets.  Manufacturers will also be instructed to launch SOS alert system in the existing handsets through free downloading of suitable software.  The scheme will be launched in 157 cities in two phases (55 in phase I and 102 in phase II).  The expected outlay is Rs.1000 crore.  A cabinet note will be moved by MHA.

Department of IT has already initiated two projects in this context. The first project “A Pilot Deployment of an Electronic Personal Safety System(ePSS)” by C-DAC (Trivandrum), that provides a complete eco-system for assisting women in distress, is being implemented at Jaipur Police Control Room.  Another project called “Design and Development of an affordable Electronic Personal Safety Device” is being implemented by IIT, Delhi for development of personal security device in the form of a wrist watch.

             The action in this regard will be taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry  of Information Technology. 

(ii)        Proposal of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways:  A scheme for ‘security of women in road transport in the country’ covering 32 towns each with a population of over one million to be implemented over a period of two years.The scheme would have following features:

(a)               Public Transport Vehicles to compulsorily have Global Position System(GPS) for tracking and enforcement.  On-board unit should be a necessary condition for giving permit.

(b)               Control room in every city having more than one million population to track public transport vehicles.

(c)               Public Transport Buses to have CCTVs to record the events.

(d)              Passenger Information Systems through smart phones, display on bus stops etc.

(e)               IVR, Text and E-mail based complaint system for transport.

(f)                Scrutiny and constant review of every public transport vehicle and driver.

(g)               Women enforcement wing in transport department.

(h)               More women drivers and conductors – Training and Licensing.

(i)                 Awareness campaign.

The expected outlay is about Rs.1700 crore. A cabinet note is under preparation.

The action in this regard will be taken by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.

 

(iii)       Proposal of Ministry of Railways: A pilot scheme of setting up an SOS alert system in trains in select zones. The railway helpline system will have the following features:

                   a.        The facility will cover all the service providers from all the telecom circles of mobile and landline networks.

                   b.        Call recording i.e. recording of the conversations between passengers and Call Centre Agents.

                   c.        Upgradability/compatibility for SMS service.

                   d.        To start with, the proposed call centre will support English and Hindi as languages of communication. However the system is flexible to be upgraded to a distributed mode wherein calls from a centralized call centre can be transferred to regional call centers.

 

On October 25, 2013, the work was awarded to CRIS (Center for Railway Information Systems) with a completion period of 13 months for conducting pilot projects at Central Railway and Western Railway. Rolling out of the scheme on All India basis would require an estimated amount of Rs 25.17 cr.  Ministry of Railways have not asked for any fund at this stage. 

The action in this regard will be taken by the Ministry of Railways.

            Besides the above three schemes, Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) have reported that they are formulating a scheme for vulnerability mapping, opening of response centres and creating awareness for enhancement of safety and security of women in the 32 towns referred to in para 3(ii) above.   A draft cabinet note is under circulation.

            The outlays referred to above will be required over a period of time. While the Fund has Rs.1000 crore and the proposals, after approval of Cabinet, will be supported from the Fund, it is expected that the Fund will be enhanced from time to time by the Government.

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