The Indian Railways is planning to increase the number of female officers in the Railway Protection Force (RPF) by next year. The women’s squad will be guarding running trains as well as ensuring women’s safety at stations. They will also be assisting women and children on the railway premises. Indian Railways plans to add 4,500 more women to the team of RPF. It is an encouraging move towards gender inclusivity, with the new recruitment the number of women staffers will go up thrice of what it is right now.
“To deal with women in distress, sensitive staff needs to be posted. Since most of the trafficking victims are women, women constables will give them more confidence in narrating the trauma. The presence of women staff will give the women passengers a sense of safety,” said Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini to The HT, an NGO that works with the Railways to curb crimes against women.
Vacancies at RPF
At the level of sub-inspector, RPF has 1,111 vacancies, 300 of which will be reserved for women”, said Ved Prakash, spokesperson for Railways to The HT. “At the constable level, it has advertised for 7,989 vacancies, 4,200 of which will be reserved for women”, he added.
With a sanctioned strength of about 75000 personnel, the RPF currently has filled positions for only 67000. As a result, this initiative aims at increasing women’s staff strength in these vacancies. However, it is currently a mere 5%.
After the hiring process, the number is expected to go up from 2600 to a triple number of 7000.
Rigorous training to follow
“Once the selection process is done, the women will be subjected to nine months’ rigorous training. They will be trained for escort duty in trains and most of them will be posted in the ladies’ coaches of suburban trains in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. The presence of women in uniform inside coaches will make women travellers feel safe,” said an RPF spokesperson to The HT.
“Some of the women personnel who are deployed on active duty have been doing commendable work and received various awards also. Additionally, they have helped women in distress. Railways is also used by human traffickers and these personnel will be responsible for identifying vulnerable children and women,” the RPF spokesperson added.
Pic by Khabar India
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Nimisha is an intern with SheThepeople.TV