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Bus GPS shield

New Delhi, Jan. 2: Public buses in 32 cities will have GPS facilities and video recorders under a proposal approved by the cabinet today as part of the Nirbhaya Fund for women’s safety.

The clearance of the road transport ministry’s proposal comes over a year after the December 16, 2012, gang rape of a paramedic student in a Delhi bus and death weeks later.

The Justice J.S Verma Committee, formed after the atrocity to suggest measures to control such crimes, had also recommended such steps.

“I have also granted in-principle approval to two other proposals under the fund, (one) by the ministry of home affairs and (the other) by the ministry of information technology,” finance minister P. Chidambaram said. The two plans have yet to come before the cabinet, he added.

The home ministry plan relates to police modernisation for faster responses in 114 cities. The IT ministry plan is for an “SOS button” on all mobile handsets.

The 32 cities selected for the bus plan are part of a larger group of over 50 with a one million-plus population.

The buses will be equipped with an emergency “panic button” that will ring an alarm. Video recording will enable a control centre to receive pictures of actual incidents and alert the nearest police patrol to reach the bus. Today’s approval also includes a National Vehicle Security and Tracking System that will specifya vehicle’s location.