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March 07, 2020 Saturday 12:26:02 PM IST

Indian Railways takes substantial measures for Women Empowerment

Leadership Instincts

Indian Railways, primarily a transport organization, undertakes various welfare activities for women passengers and its women employees. Indian Railways is constantly working to provide the best amenities and services to its passengers including women passengers and women employees.

Special provisions for concession granted to women on Indian Railways:-

- Women senior citizens of minimum 58 years of age are eligible for 50% concession in the fare of all classes in Mail/Express, Rajdhani/Shatabdi/ Jan Shatabdi group of trains.

- Women recipients of president’s police medal for distinguished service and Indian Police award for meritorious service are eligible for 60% concession (Concession is 50% for men) in all classes of Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Jan Shatabdi trains.

- War widows, widows of Indian Peace Keeping Force (I.P.K.F.) personnel killed in action in Sri Lanka, widows of Policemen & Paramilitary personnel & defence personnel killed in action against Terrorist & Extremists and widows of Martyrs of operation Vijay in Kargil in 1999 are entitled to 75% concession in second and sleeper class.

- Girls up to Graduation/professional/vocational courses are eligible for free second class Monthly season ticket from Home town to School/College/Institution. (In case of the Boys this facility is available up to 12th standard).

- Girls of Government School in Rural areas who travel to appear for entrance exams for national level Medical, Engineering etc are eligible for 75% concession in second class.

Reservation facilities have been extended from time to time to Senior citizens and women:-

·        In the computerized Passenger Reservation System(PRS) there is a provision to allot lower berths to Senior Citizens, Female passengers of 45 years and above automatically, even if no choice is given, subject to availability of accommodation at the time of booking.

·       A reservation quota of six berths in sleeper class in long distance Mail/Express trains and a reservation quota of six berths in 3AC class of Garib Rath/Rajdhani/Duronto/fully air-conditioned Express trains has been earmarked for female passengers irrespective of their age travelling alone or in a group of female passengers.

·        A combined quota of six to seven lower berths per coach in Sleeper class, four to five lower berths per coach each in Air Conditioned 3 tier (3AC) and three to four lower berths per coach in Air Conditioned 2 tier (2AC) classes (depending on the number of coaches of that class in the train) has been earmarked for senior citizens, female passengers 45 years of age and above and pregnant women.

·        After departure of the train, if there are vacant lower berths available in the train and if any physically person with disability booked on the authority of handicapped concession or a senior citizen or a pregnant woman, who has been allotted upper/middle berth, approaches for allotment of vacant lower berths, the on board Ticket Checking Staff has been authorized to allot the vacant lower berth to them making necessary entries in the chart.

·        Accommodation is also earmarked for senior citizens on suburban sections of Central & Western Railways.

Steps Taken by Indian Railways for Safety and Security of Women Passengers:-

·        On vulnerable and identified routes/sections, 2200 trains (on an average) are escorted by Railway Protection Force daily in addition to 2200 trains escorted by Government Railway Police of different States daily.

·        Security Help Line number 182 is made operational (24X7) over Indian Railways for security related assistance to passengers in distress.

·        Through various social media platforms viz. twitter, facebook etc., Railways are in regular touch with passengers including women to enhance security of passengers and to address their security concern.

·        Drives are conducted against entry of male passengers into compartments reserved for women passengers and persons apprehended are prosecuted under section 162 of The Railways Act, 1989. During the years 2018 & 2019, a total of 139422 & 114170 male passengers respectively have been prosecuted for unauthorized entry/travel in compartments reserved for women passengers.

·        Ladies Special trains running in Metropolitan cities are being escorted by lady RPF personnel. In other trains, where escorts are provided, the train escorting parties have been briefed to keep extra vigil on the lady passengers travelling alone, ladies coaches en-route and at halting stations.

·        Frequent announcements are made through Public Address System to educate passengers to take precautions against theft, snatching, drugging etc.

·        Regular coordination is made with the State Police/GRP authorities at all levels for prevention of crime, registration of cases, their investigation and maintenance of law & order in Railway premises as well as on running trains.

·        An Integrated Security System (ISS) consisting of surveillance of vulnerable stations through Close Circuit Television Camera Network, Access Control etc. has been sanctioned to improve surveillance mechanism over 202 railway stations.

·        Fixed CCTV cameras have been provided in 2019 coaches (upto November’2019) and 511 Railway stations (upto December’2019) for enhancing security of passengers.

·        Emergency Talk Back system and Closed Circuit Television Surveillance Cameras have been provided in ladies compartments/coaches of all newly manufactured Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) and Air conditioned rakes of Kolkata Metro. This system has also been provided in all newly manufactured air-conditioned EMU rakes. With a view to further fortify the security system, in addition to CCTV Cameras and Emergency Talk Back System, flasher lights have also been provided in ladies coaches in EMU rakes in South Eastern Railway. When the alarm chain of the coach is pulled, these lights will start blinking and buzzer will start sounding till resetting of alarm chain.

·        In order to increase the representation of women in RPF to the level of 10%, 4517 out of 9739 vacancies notified in the year 2018 were notified for women. In this recruitment, 4376 women RPF personnel have been empanelled.

Other Provisions:-

Few railways stations are fully manned by women officers and staff.

Indian Railways is having 840 women working as locopilots, locopilot (shunter) and assistant locopilots.

Ladies special trains are running in metropolitan cities.

Provision of ladies accommodation in SLR coaches.

Separate waiting rooms at major stations.

Separate toilets for women passengers/staff.

Provision of separate booking windows for ticket purchasing at important stations.

Facilities to Women Employees in Indian Railways:-

·      Provision of creche facility for working women employees.

·      Seminar camps, training programmes and gender sensitisation camps are organised regularly for women empowerment.

·      Scholarship for higher technical/professional education for girl child of the certain lowest rung of staff.

·      Staff benefit fund act as an important channel for providing several facilities for the welfare of the railway employees and their families.

·      Handicrafts Centres and Mahila Samities operate under the Staff Benefit Fund Scheme in order to help women members of employees’ families in augmenting the family income.