Union Minister Maneka Gandhi today suggested appointing women as drivers in school buses and in the non-teaching staff as part of efforts to ensure safety of children. The Women and Child Development Minister was speaking against the backdrop of rising concern over the safety of children in schools after a string of attacks, including the killing of a student at a private school in Gurgaon, Haryana.
"For all schools, the drivers and conductors should be women. The WCD ministry can offer funds under the Nirbhaya fund to train women drivers and helpers in school buses," she said, speaking at an event here.
A meeting is scheduled to be held in Delhi on Monday next to discuss child safety-related issues, she said. Replying to a query, the minister observed that a substantial part of social media platforms is "vicious" and a hashtag is already in place to address online trolling in social media.
Gandhi also said that a bill to check the problem of trafficking of girls is on the anvil. On measures taken to address the problems of women, she said they can complain on her ministry website about any inappropriate behaviour. A complaint can be lodged if any organisation does not have a committee to look into cases of sexual harassment at work places, she said.
Gandhi said she was working on the problem of NRI men abandoning their wives. Shelters for helpless widows would be opened at some places, including Varanasi and Gaya, Gandhi said, adding that a service (named 'mahila e-hut) to market products made by women from economically weaker sections has been created on the internet.
The ministry has also been setting up 'Sakhi' centres, where women in distress get different types of help, across the country, the minister said. However, such centres have not been established in Delhi and West Bengal as chief ministers of both the states did not show enthusiasm, she alleged.