A high-level meeting headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth last month cleared a series of measures to check cases of crime against women in the wake of the Delhi gangrape incident, including adding ‘gender sensitivity’ as an index of assessment in the annual appraisal report of police officers.
These measures will be in addition to the ones proposed in the ordinance, passed on Sunday, to strengthen laws to help fight sexual crimes against women.
At the meeting, it was decided that the Union Home Ministry and Telecom Ministry would draw up a concept note on creating a countrywide emergency number on the lines of the US (911) and UK (999) by the end of February. Any distress call to this number would be seamlessly transferred to the department concerned without harassment to the caller.
The 181 emergency number, a women’s helpline launched by the Delhi government last month, will also be made operational throughout the country.
Officials from other departments, such as the Delhi Police, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and HRD Ministry, also attended the meeting, which touched upon a spectrum of issues that have come under focus following the gangrape. The Delhi Police asked for an additional 370 PCR vans, which was okayed immediately.
Among the measures cleared:
* The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to put up names, photographs and details of sexual offenders on its website.
* Surprise checks at police stations to check how effectively officials are dealing with complaints related to women.
* The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to review the Motor Vehicle Act and come up with suggestions on curtains and tinted glasses in luxury buses. The Delhi government to come up with a notification banning tinted glasses in buses by the end of February. This order to be sent to other states.
* The Home Ministry to come up with a protocol on “100 per cent verification” of all bus drivers, cleaners and helpers. It was decided that there should be a defined time frame for this, beyond which no bus without this should be allowed to ply.
* Quantum of fines levied for violation of permit conditions be hiked and repeat offenders should have their permits cancelled.
* The Home Ministry should ask all states to hold major recruitment drives for women police personnel.
* There should be at least some PCR vans with a woman constable each. These vans should be deployed outside malls, marketplaces, colleges, cinema halls.
* More buses for women and installation of GPS in all public buses.
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