India makes panic buttons mandatory on public transport to ensure safety of women


The Indian government has made installation of global positioning system (GPS) devices and panic buttons mandatory on all public transport vehicles from April this year.

“From 1st April, 2018, passenger transport vehicles including taxis and buses are to be mandatorily equipped with GPS devices,” India’s transport ministry has tweeted.

Officials said Friday that the idea is to make passengers, particularly women, safe in closed vehicles.

“In case of any untoward incident, women can simply raise an alarm by pressing the panic button and police will soon be alerted,” a senior official said.

However, three-wheeler passenger vehicles, such as e-rickshaws and auto-rickshaws, have been exempted by the ministry as these are mostly open ones, he added.

The government’s move came in the wake of reports of rapes on moving vehicles across the country. “Safety of women is now our priority,” the official said.

Scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown since the brutal and fatal gangrape of a 23-year-old medical student by six men on a moving bus in the national capital in 2012.

The gangrape led to protests and stricter anti-rape laws in India, but brutal sexual attacks on women and children continue to be reported across the country.

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