Panel to look at ways to improve children and women homes

More fast-track courts and better training for bus drivers and conductors were among the many suggestions Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit discussed with women activists and NGOs on Tuesday.

While briefing women representatives from several fields, Dikshit reiterated several measures Delhi government had adopted to improve the safety and security of women in the national capital, after the gangrape of a 23-year-old woman in December last year.

"The government is committed to ensuring the safety and security of women in Delhi. We have taken several important steps in this regard following the heinous incident on December 16," Dikshit said. She listed the dedicated helpline for women in distress, fast-track courts for sexual assault cases, GPS devices in public transport and better guidelines for government hospitals.

Dikshit also stressed on the need for more courts. "At our insistence, five fast-track courts have been constituted and have started working. But we need more courts to improve the system," Dikshit said.

Other issues discussed included auto-rickshaw drivers refusing to take passengers to their destinations and training for drivers and conductors in behaving in a polite manner. Activists also stressed that this training should be institutionalised and must be continuous.

Dikshit decided to constitute a committee to study the functioning of homes for women and working women hostels in Delhi. "This will help in the improvement of such homes. The committee will be tasked with studying homes for women and submit feasible suggestions at the earliest," she said.

The government has also started discussions with a security company, e-move, to provide a reliable system for women to contact the police and other agencies in case of danger to their dignity.

Others present at the meeting were Women and Child Development Minister Kiran Walia, Member (Planning Commission) Sayeeda Hamid, Chairman (Delhi Commission for Women) Barkha Singh, Secretary (DCW) Geeta Sagar, principal secretaries and secretaries from relevant departments, office bearers of NGOs, women legal representatives and activists.

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