Stressing the safety of women travelling on trains, railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal announced a slew of measures including raising of eight new companies of women Railway Protection Force (RPF).
"To strengthen the security of rail passengers, especially the women passengers, the railways have already created four companies of women RPF personnel and another eight would be set up," Bansal said in his maiden railway budget speech.
He said the recruitment to RPF is being conducted with 10% vacancies reserved for women.
"The presence of women RPF personnel will be further strengthened with the field units."
The minister said women's special local trains in metropolitan cities have women RPF staff on board.
"Security helpline numbers have been made available on several zonal railways to facilitate passengers in reporting any untoward incidence for immediate intervention," he said.
Officials said most of the suggestions for women's safety had come from the minister's wife Madhu Bansal. Before the presentation of the budget, she said the railway ministry should start a helpline for women passengers so that they can complain in case of any emergency.
She also wanted that the railways ensure cleanliness in trains and safety of women.
"I generally travel between Chandigarh and Delhi and find the journey safe. I feel the railways should have a women's helpline so that female passengers can lodge a complaint in case of any problem," she told reporters.
For railways staff, Bansal announced provision of hostel facilities for single women at all divisional headquarters.