Tech and change in mindset can make cities safer

Panelists at Governance Now round table express their views about safe cities from different vantage points

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | March 7, 2013



Skills, technology and change in mindset are the key mantras to ensure safe and secure cities, noted a panel of experts at Governance Now’s round table on safer cities on Thursday.

According to the panel, there is need for sensitising the police personnel and general public about dealing with threats and challenges. Also, they said, use of technology, coupled with change in the mindset, can be crucial step towards ensuring safer cities.

Kalpana  Viswanath, renowned women activist from Jagori pointed out at increasing number of cases being reported on violence against women after the December 16 Delhi gang rape case. She said if we really wanted to make cities safer, all we need to do is to start responding to violence as far as crime against women and children is concerned.

She added that police and legal system are not functioning properly, but they can’t be hold responsible entirely.

Offering a solution, she said, the society has to transform into a rights-based society. Technology could help in linking departments and offering an integrated solution.

Ajay Chagti, additional secretary, department of IT, Delhi government, said there is need for a wholistic approach towards dealing with security challenges. He said though technology can bring change, a lot of back end preparedness is needed to have corrective steps.

He said technological interventions like CCTNS, geospatial mapping and design of urban spaces could be a way forward.

Aditya Arya, special commissioner, home gaurds, Delhi Police said that there is need for a two-pronged approach to deal with public security and safety. He said the police in the country are run by an obsolete British age law, which was brought for suppressing the nationalist movement. Several committees, including Dharamveera led committee submitted its report in 1976, but even after three decades the report is gathering dust. Secondly, he said that there is a need for educating and sensitising people from the very beginning by the family and schools.

Col BB Singh, former national disaster management authority (NDMA) advisor said that the focus should be pan India than on a particular city.  He suggested if the registration of FIR can be made online like that of the Indian railways reservation system, the common man would be much relieved.  

Referring to challenges in implementing technology projects, including national spatial data infrastructure, the data being stored in all the departments are in different formats, and interoperability is a big issue.

VK Mittal, former senior scientist, NTRO, said that more than technology, it is man behind the machine which is more important. He also stressed on the security of telecom networks which is currently extremely vulnerable to interceptions.    

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