#DelhiBudget has been announce. As an activist working for gender equality, I must say I was extremely happy to read that there is a whole section designated for women’s safety and security. Though once I read through the points, some questions came up in my mind. But before I share my thoughts, do read the budget points pertaining to Women’s safety.
1. Wi-Fi services, GPS and CCTV cameras will be provided in all DTC and cluster buses to ensure safety of women. Government has made it mandatory for all public transport vehicles, including taxis to install GPS system for tracking of the vehicles.
2. Government has deputed 4000 marshals in DTC buses to remain vigilant in the buses.
3. For security of people on roads, in residential areas and overall security of National Capital Territory, a new scheme for installation of CCTV cameras and surveillance system throughout Delhi is proposed.
4. Mohalla Rakshak Dal of Civil Defence Volunteers is proposed to be set up in all assembly constituencies for providing women safety with an outlay of ₹ 200 crore.
5. Three working women’s hostels to accommodate 200 more working women will be started at Dilshad Garden, Pitampura and Vasant Village during 2016-17.
Now on to my thoughts. Starting with the 4000 marshals- how will they be different from the police? In case they are not the police, under which authority would they be able to intervene in times of crisis? Which crisis intervention manual would they be following? And most importantly who will be training them to ensure they are gender sensitive?
The same set of questions follow for the Mohalla Rakshak Dal, (may be its me, but the name some how reminds me of Bajrang Dal, our home grown vigilantes who protect Indian culture every Valentines day). We have an existing system of the Police, whose job is to serve and protect, so why are we creating a new system to do exactly that? If more policing is the way to go, should AAP not be investing in more police women and men? Or will there be new State acts introduced to empower Marshall’s and Mohalla Rakshak Dal members ?
I know my questions seem extremely basic, but considering we live in a city governed by the law, I think it is essential we look into the legal aspects of our government’s expenditure. I hope there is a well thought out plan of execution, though from the perspective of someone who has worked in the field for 9 years, I am highly skeptical about both these decisions. I still hope against hope that they make Delhi safer for women.
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