Women Safety

The AAP Delhi Govt has been working on several measures in the last few years to ensure women safety.

Achievements of the Delhi Commission for Women

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on 8th Mar 2022 lauded the Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) for its work, saying the panel has instilled a sense of security among women in the capital. The CM also appreciated how the ‘181’ DCW helpline had proved to be a lifeline for lakhs of women. He lauded DCW chief Swati Maliwal as ‘Delhi’s Lady Singham’.

“Swati Maliwal is not scared and has rescued several women and children without thinking about her own safety…The DCW is the perfect example of how a women’s commission should function. Other women’s commissions should learn from the DCW. Even the National Commission For Women (NCW) should learn how a women’s panel should function.”  – Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi CM

Ms. Maliwal said in the last six years, the panel has handled 1,23,000 cases and its helpline received over 15 lakh calls. She added that the DCW’s budget has gone up from Rs 3 crore to Rs 35 crore under the Kejriwal-led dispensation and is higher than even the budget of NCW (National Commission for Women).

“We have given more than 300 suggestions to the Centre and Delhi government over various issues. The DCW has questioned the system and fixed accountability. Our endeavour is to ensure that a strict system is put in place so that people are scared of harming women,” Swati Maliwal, DCW Chairperson

Free bus rides

The free-bus rides for women scheme was announced in August 2019 and implemented on 29th October 2019. The scheme is aimed at providing safe, easily accessible and affordable public transport to women in Delhi.  

Female commuters earlier used to form 33% of the daily ridership in public buses. In November 2019, the ridership of women passengers jumped to around 44%.

The Women Workforce Participation Rate in Delhi is abysmally low at 11%. The World Bank Report states that India ranks 120 among 131 countries in female labour force participation rate.

Affordable means of commuting will help in increasing the representation of women in public spaces, which in turn will make these spaces safer for them and will also give them a psychological sense of security.

“In a deeply unequal country, where women still have to take money from their fathers, husbands and sons for every small expense, free bus travel will give women independence and an opportunity to fulfil their dreams!”  – Atishi Marlena, Delhi MLA

It will also open doors of new opportunities for them. The women will be empowered to take up work, education and many other opportunities that they would have otherwise left due to lack of access to safe and affordable transport.

(Source: Tweet by Atishi )

As of 14th Feb 2022, the AAP govt has empowered women with free travel in 6900 state run buses. 480 million women have availed this benefit till then while more than 240 million women have traveled free in 2021. In addition, Marshals in every bus ensured the safety of women while traveling.

A detailed scholarly study on the impact of the free bus ride scheme was published by transportation expert Shirish Mahendru on 15th Jan 2022. The study identifies the profile of the beneficiaries, with a break-up of age, education level, purpose of travel, length of travel, etc. It also identifies the range of benefits and possible areas for improvement in the Delhi public transport system. The key findings are captured in the following charts.

(Source: Shirish Mahendru study in LinkedIn)

Safety features in Buses

96% of all operational buses (both DTC and Cluster) have CCTV, Panic Button, Vehicle tracking system installed.

More details are in “Transport” section.

Command and Control Centre

The Command and Control Center at Kashmere Gate that was inaugurated in Feb 2021 seeks to ensure safety and security of passengers, particularly women, through IP-based CCTV surveillance cameras, panic button and GPS in the buses of DTC and Cluster scheme.

(Source: Tweet by Kailash Gahlot )

Apart from the Command and Control Centre, a Disaster Recovery Centre, a Data Centre and separate Viewing Centres have also been created at all depots where live footage can be monitored by all the Depot Managers. The Command Centre will be manned for 24 hours for real-time monitoring of all activities in buses.

Enforcement vans

In Nov 2020, 20 new Enforcement Vans were deployed to the DTC Enforcement team in 20 crucial locations in Delhi. These are the first responders in case of an emergency.

(Source: Tweet by Kailash Gahlot )

A passenger, driver or conductor of a bus can press the panic button in case of any emergency or panic. This will send a signal to the Command and Control Centre, which will send related alerts to the traffic police, ambulance, depot control room and fire services etc. depending on the need of the situation. Along with this, the Depot Control room will immediately send the nearest Enforcement Van on the spot through the regional control room.

Bus marshals

In Oct 2019, Delhi CM announced that 13,000 bus marshals would be deployed in Delhi buses.

More details are in “Transport” section.

(Source: Tweet by AamAadmiParty)

Street lighting

In 2019, a survey commissioned by the Delhi government had found that Delhi had at least 2,000 dark spots, mostly in unauthorised colonies, regularised colonies, villages, slum clusters and markets.

As part of the government’s larger plan to address concerns regarding the safety of women in the Capital, the Mukhyamantri Street Light Yojna was launched in September 2019 to install 2,1 lakh street lights to eradicate dark and dimly lit spots. Under the project, each of Delhi’s 70 assembly constituencies is supposed to get 3,000 such streetlights. These 210,000 streetlights were over and above the 700,000-odd street lights set up on electric poles that were currently functional in the city.

(Source: Tweet by AamAadmiParty)

The lights, which have special sensors enabling them to turn on automatically after sunset, are powered by electricity from domestic connections.

Under the scheme, lights are installed outside residences and on the periphery walls of neighbourhoods. The power bills of the LED streetlights are to be borne by households, which the government then reimburses in their monthly power bills.

By Sep 2021,  1,17,314 street lights had been installed.

CCTVs across the city

The AAP government has installed 2.75 lakh CCTVs across the city  and 1.4 lakh more are being installed in 2nd phase.

The CCTVs are not only a deterrent to crime but also the camera footage is helping the Delhi Police a lot in solving cases.

On 8th Mar 2022, the chief minister said that Delhi has surpassed mega cities of the world in terms of CCTV camera coverage.

More details are in “Housing and Urban Development ” section.

Women and Child Health

Health services through Anganwadi centres

About 13 lakh children and pregnant/nursing mothers are availing services of nutrition, vaccination, health services and pre-school activities at 10,755 anganwadi centres.  (Source: Status Report of Outcome Budget 2020-2021).

Mahila Mohalla Clinics

The AAP Delhi Govt plans to establish 100 ‘Mahila Mohalla Clinics‘, to ensure every woman has access to a woman-only clinic in her neighbourhood.

This will allow every woman in the city access to special services of gynaecologists and related diagnostic tests and the number will be increased to ensure that there is at least one clinic in each ward.

Mahila Support Centres

To ensure that women in Delhi are aware of schemes like the Delhi Pension Scheme for women in distress, maternity schemes, and the ‘Ladli Yojana’ for school-going girls, the government is planning to establish 33 ‘mahila’ support centres. A counsellor will be present in these support centres to help and counsel women regarding issues concerning government initiatives.

Economic Empowerment of Women

The Economic Survey showed that before the Covid-19 pandemic, unemployment among women was 26 per cent and it rose to 40 per cent by February 2021.

“This reveals that among the women of Delhi, who are available for employment, 40 per cent are unable to find any work. Forty-five per cent of these women have completed class 12 and 60 percent of these women are less than 30 years of age.” – Manish Sisodoa, Delhi Dy CM and Finance Minister

Jasmine Shah & Akshay Marathe observe that 62% of students in Delhi Govt schools between grades 6-8 are girls. By investing a quarter of its annual budget in public education, the government is indirectly empowering girl students. A robust, all-round education will help them become economically independent and increase their participation in the economy.

From establishing special ‘mohalla’ clinics and dedicated support centres for women to strengthening their role in the economy, women empowerment was a key focus area of Delhi’s 2021-22 budget.

Anganwadi Hubs

To strengthen the role of women in the economy, the government, under its “Saheli Samanvay Kendra”, planned to set up 500 anganwadi hubs in different parts of Delhi.

The Anganwadi Hubs can be used for incubating individual start-ups and to promote self-help groups.

Special arrangements will be made for women in these hubs and required training will be imparted to open micro-economic units and for holding meetings of self-help groups.

Samriddhi – Model centres in Anganwadi Hubs

Another initiative Samriddhi works through anganwadi hubs for socio-economic empowerment of women and adolescent girls. 

“Under it, focus would be on mobilising and strengthening mahila mandals or SHGs or women collectives, nurturing entrepreneurship, capacity building and generating sustainable livelihood opportunities.” – Delhi Govt official

To ensure women’s participation in the workforce, the government announced in April 2021 that it would launching 21 model centres in anganwadi hubs.

International Women’s Day’s Awards by DCW

This annual DCW awards ceremony recognizes outstanding women from various walks of life. From adolescents to octogenarians, women’s excellence in any endeavour is duly recognized and awarded. On 8th Mar 2022, around 60 awards were given away to women achievers and those who have been involved in working on women’s issues.

(Source: Tweet by Sowmya Mishra)

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OT Editor