Do you agree with the view that the public transport planning in India remains to be gender insensitive? With suitable examples, discuss initiatives undertaken by public transportation authorities in various parts of India keeping gender equity in focus.

With the Nirbhaya rape case still fresh in our minds, the question keeps on arising as to what extent are the Indian public transportation system gender friendly. This was only a major incident that drew our attention to several similar incidents that the women are facing. As per the statistics of United Nations Women along with Jagori, around 50% of the women are harassed on a regular basis on public transport on a regular basis. This situation prevails even in a social setup in which women are more dependent on public transport than men. Studies have shown that working women bear more of travel burden as they have to make more trips given the household responsibilities of dropping their children to school, going to the market along with going for work etc.
In spite of all these, the steps taken by the public transportation authority are very minimal. Some steps are:

  • Some cities have ‘women only’ buses, trains and autos which are driven by women (in case of autos and buses)
  • The government will be reviewing the extent to which windows can be tinted for security purposes. A protocol has been developed by the ministry of home ministers for the verification of crew of public transport vehicles. After the stipulated time frame, no public transport vehicle will be allowed to be driven/manned by any driver/conductor/helper or other crew member unless such a person has been verified and carries the verification certificate/identity permit. In case of violation, owners will be held liable.
  • In some metropolitan cities, women police are employed to patrol in the women’s coaches of the trains in the silent hours for the security of the women.
  • Helpline numbers and CCTVs have been arranged in several transports.

But small forms of harassment like lewd comments are still common and remain unidentified.


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