Union Ministry of Finance Approved Three Proposals to utilise Nirbhaya Fund

Dec 17, 2013 12:42 IST

The Union Ministry of Finance on 16 December 2013 approved the three proposals of different Ministries to utilise the Resources in the Nirbhaya Fund to Enhance the Safety and Security of Women in the country.

In the Union Budget speech on 28 Februry 2013, the Union Finance Minister P.Chidambaram had announced that the Government will set-up a Fund called the Nirbhaya Fund and contribute 1000 crore rupees to the Fund.

Three Proposals

(I)  Proposal of the Union 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 1000 crore rupees.

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• 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.

(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:

• 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.
• Control room in every city having more than one million population to track public transport vehicles.
• Public Transport Buses to have CCTVs to record the events.
• Passenger Information Systems through smart phones, display on bus stops etc.
• IVR, Text and E-mail based complaint system for transport.
• Scrutiny and constant review of every public transport vehicle and driver.
• Women enforcement wing in transport department.
• More women drivers and conductors – Training and Licensing.
• Awareness campaign.

The expected outlay is about 1700 crore rupees for this proposal.

(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:

• The facility will cover all the service providers from all the telecom circles of mobile and landline networks.
• Call recording i.e. recording of the conversations between passengers and Call Centre Agents.
• Upgradability/compatibility for SMS service.
• 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.

Rolling out of the scheme on All India basis would require an estimated amount of 25.17 crore rupees.  

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 selected 32 towns.

About Nirbhaya Incident

The 23-year old para-medical student (also known as Damini or Nirbhaya) was gang raped in New Delhi on 16 December 2012. She passed away in Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore on 29 December 2012. She was raped in the moving bus by six men, one of which included a minor. The 16 December gang rape led to massive protests across the country. Government of India also promised strict punishment to the criminals of the crime, new rules for safety and security of women in the country. so that Government announced the Nirbhaya Fund for women safety.

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