The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday approved the ambitious proposal for installing CCTV cameras and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in public transport vehicles to ensure women’s safety.

The unified system will be set up at the national level (National Vehicle Security and Tracking System) and the State level (City Command and Control Centre).

The Rs. 1,405 crore project is part of the Nirbhaya Fund, set up after the gang rape of a student in Delhi in December 2012.

The scheme, drafted by the Road Transport Ministry, will cover 32 cities and towns, each with a population of over one million. Under the proposal, public transport vehicles will have GPS for easy tracking, CCTVs and more women drivers and conductors, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters, after the meeting of the Union Cabinet here.

The scheme will also involve mapping of roads and routes assigned to public vehicles, Mr. Chidambaram said, adding that all vehicles would be monitored to ensure that they do not deviate from the allotted routes. An emergency button will alert the transport department and the police through visual, text and voice services. These systems will be mandatory for public vehicles to obtain permits and for registration.

The scheme will be implemented in two phases. The cities have been identified on the basis of the Census 2011 data.

The first phase will cover 32 cities and towns.

Two other proposals for women’s safety under the Nirbhaya Fund include the Railway Ministry’s proposal to launch a public scheme for setting up a SoS alert system in trains in select zones and the Ministry of Women and Child Development’s scheme for vulnerability mapping, opening of response centres and creating awareness for the safety and security of women in the 32 towns.

These two schemes are likely to be approved in the next Cabinet meeting.

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