The Women and Child Development Ministry has launched three new initiatives as a means to ensure better safety for women. The initiatives include a safety tool “Panic Button”, DNA analysis facilities and emergency panic number for women. The initiatives are being launched jointly by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi with Rs 321.69 crore under the Nirbhaya Fund.
The Panic Button concept which incepted in 2015, was launched in 14 states apart from the soft-launch in Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland. About three years ago, the government made the safety feature a mandatory requirement in mobile phones through bulletin notifications. A smartphone user can press the power button thrice in succession to access emergency services such as police and medical. And individuals with a basic or feature phone can long press 5 or 9 on the keypad for the same.
“Very soon it will be implemented across the whole country. One can dial 112 or use a panic button on their phones or 112 India mobile app to connect to a single emergency services number 112 which will combine police, fire, health and other helplines through an Emergency Response Centre in states,” Rajnath Singh said.
Once an individual uses the panic button, the user’s call log details geolocation will be sent to police officials in the form of SMS and emails. As of now, the feature is launched in Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, UP, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Andaman, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Jammu & Kashmir, as well as Mumbai.
“WCD and Home ministries are collaborating intensively to ensure that women are safe in the country. Besides, the initiatives referred above, fast-track special courts for cases of sexual assaults are also being set up in collaboration with the Ministry of Law for which Rs 767 crore has been sanctioned from the Nirbhaya Fund,” Maneka Gandhi said.
Singh and Gandhi additionally launched a portal – Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences and Safe City Implementation Monitoring Portal. Considering the predominant sexual offences and assaults in the country, the government has further approved 78.76 crore under the Nirbhaya Fund to bolster DNA analysis in the state forensic laboratories.