Mobiles to have SoS button for women's safety: Chidambaram | Deccan Chronicle
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Mobiles to have SoS button for women's safety: Chidambaram

PTI | December 16, 2013, 21.12 pm IST

New Delhi: Mobile handset makers will have to introduce SoS alert button to ensure that women in distress can be reached by the police in the minimum possible time, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Monday while unveiling the proposal for utilisation of Rs 1,000 crore Nirbhaya Fund.

He said the fund will be utilised to introduce SoS alert systems in trains and installing Global Position System (GPS) and CCTVs in public transport vehicles.

On the first death anniversary of Nirbhaya, the 23 year old Delhi gang rape victim, Chidambaram told reporters that the ministries of Home Affairs, Railways and Road Transport and Highways will bring in separate Cabinet notes to pursue a set of proposals.

"The Cabinet notes are under preparation... Three ministries will bring to Cabinet the proposals either this Thursday or next Thursday," he said.

Chidambaram had announced in the Budget 2013-14 the Nirbhaya Fund with a corpus of Rs 1,000 crore as a tribute to the gang rape victim. Nirbhaya (fearless) was the pseudonym given to the victim to hide her actual identity.

As the proposal mooted by the MHA, in consultation with the IT Ministry, police administration will be integrated with the mobile phone network to trace and respond to distress calls with minimum response time.

"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 1,000 crore," an official statement said.

The Road Transport Ministry, he said, has proposed a scheme, 'security of women in road transport in the country', which will cover 32 towns - each with a population of over one million - to be implemented over two years. The expected outlay is about Rs 1,700 crore.

Under the proposal, public transport vehicles will have GPS for their easy tracking, CCTVs and more women drivers and conductors, among other steps to enhance women's safety. The Railway Ministry, Chidambaram said, proposes to launch a public scheme for setting up an SoS alert system in trains in select zones.

The facility will cover all the service providers from all the telecom circles of mobile and landline networks. It will have a call recording facility and setting up of a call centre, which will support English and Hindi languages.

Rolling out of the scheme on across the country would require an estimated Rs 25.17 crore, Chidambaram said, adding that the ministry has not asked for any fund at this stage.

Besides these schemes, the Ministry of Women and Child Development is also 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, the statement added.

While the initial corpus of the Nirbhay Fund is Rs 1,000 crore, Chidambaram said it is expected to be enhanced from time to time.

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