Women’s safety: beyond panic buttons and raksha bands

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Ever since the horrific gang rape-murder of Nirbhaya in Delhi in December 2012, everyone — be it politicians or laypersons — seems interested in only one question: ‘What can keep women safe in public spaces?’

Just a few weeks ago, Maharashtra’s State cabinet cleared a ₹252 crore Safe City project for Mumbai, mooted by the Central government under the Nirbhaya Fund. While the Centre will provide 60% of the funding, that is, ₹151.2 crore, the State government’s share will be ₹100.8 crore. Similar Safe City projects meant to reduce crimes against women are in the process of being initiated in seven other Indian cities, including Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Chennai, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad — with a total of almost ₹2,920 crore earmarked for them.