Female travellers in Karnataka will soon be able to enjoy safe rides home. The state has become the first in the country to take steps to ensure the safety of its women using public transport, Times of India reports.
The state plans to use technology to make commutes on public transport safer for its womenfolk. The Karnataka government has confirmed that it will install GPS devices in autorickshaws and taxis plying on its streets and that the state transport buses will be fitted with surveillance cameras. With this, the state clearly has set up a brilliant example for others to follow. The move is the logical next step that the state has taken, after the recent event in New Delhi – the brutal rape of the 23-year old student – shook the whole nation.
Surveillance cameras, GPS devices – Commute in K'taka to become safer for women
For those women who're a little more tech-savvy, there's the Fight Back app for Android, Symbian and BlackBerry OSes. The makers of this app claim that now if a woman senses danger, she can alert her family and friends with just the press of a button.
The app has been developed by a mobile VAS provider CanvasM. The way this app works is that it tracks a user's location and then sends SOS messages to selected contacts during an emergency. Reports quoted CanvasM CEO Jagdish Mitra as saying, “We feel the application can help make a woman feel safe, especially given the current law and order situation. The app allows them to press panic button whenever they feel unsafe. It tracks the location using GPS and alerts the right people.”
Interestingly, CanvasM is currently integrating the solution with the Delhi Police's back-end IT infrastructure. Mitra believes that this way the Delhi Police will also receive messages when somebody is in danger and is seeking help, helping them initiate action.
Those in the Delhi-NCR region can avail this app for free, while those elsewhere in the country will be able to avail it for a subscription fee of Rs 100 per annum. Mitra added, “Such incidents are shameful. The application is our way of contributing to make women feel safe.”
Considering that a huge chunk of users in the country are non-smartphone users, Mitra shared that there is something coming up for them, too. They will soon have a similar SMS-based application to ensure that even those without smartphones are safe.
The Fight Back app, currently available for Android, BlackBerry and Symbian operating systems, has seen about 3,000-4,000 downloads. Mitra added, “The pick up is there but not as much as we had expected. We have been busy with building the ecosystem. We will now work on spreading awareness about the application.”
In fact, to create awareness about the app, its makers have been in talks with several companies, including BPOs, colleges and are also working towards collaborating with telecom operators and NGOs to promote their service. Mitra shared that the company is in talks with the Delhi government as well.