Learn how the Pukar mobile app not only notifies your friends & family in case of an emergency but also informs the police control room for a quick intervention. Developed by IIT Delhi graduates, this has brought together police and community to ensure better safety for women in India.
This is the number of rape cases that have been registered in India in 2013. As per the latest statistics of National crime records bureau (NCRB), every single day, 93 women are being raped in the country. These staggering numbers will make anyone stop and think about what we as a nation are doing wrong.
However, there are some who take a step beyond contemplation and do something about it. One such example is Aditya, a computer science graduate from IIT who left his consulting job to start People for Parity, an organization working to curb gender-based violence across India.
He and his team of passionate youngsters have developed a new application that will make women feel more secure when they are out. Pukar, as the name suggests, allows you to send emergency SOS messages to five close friends and relatives who can then relay the message to the Police Control Room (PCR). PCR receives information about your whereabouts using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and live tracking.
In case of dire circumstances, the control room will send a police van to rescue the user. They have managed to partner with police control rooms in Alwar (Rajasthan) and Nainital (Uttarakhand). On 12th December, Pukar was launched in Udaipur (Rajasthan) as well. Slowly and steadily, the team plans to take it to all the major cities of the nation.
The Better India, got in touch with Aditya and here’s what he had to say about his non-profit and their new android application Pukar.
TBI : How did People for Parity come into being?
PFP was initiated in 2013 by a group of young people from Delhi with the vision of challenging gender-based violence via youth development and mobilization. The thought and vision was triggered as an aftermath of the Nirbhaya rape incident and the aim was to use our skills and energy, and apply them to one of the key social problems in our country.
TBI : Tell us about Pukar. What was the motivation behind developing the mobile application?
As an aftermath of Nirbhaya, there was a lot of concern and conversation on safety of women. A lot of pepper sprays, self-defense enterprises, stun guns, garments and other absurdities had come up as solutions to the issue. A huge pile of safety apps made by corporates, philanthropic organizations, leisure and other interest groups had also popped up in the market. Our motivation behind Pukar was simple. We wanted to engage and empower the existing institution responsible for public safety – the police. We also wanted to create a more responsive technology, led by a gender sensitive discourse – we felt a lot of these options labeled women as weak, while we wished to look at Pukar as a support system for anyone feeling vulnerable. Our education from IIT Delhi made it feasible for us to build it in-house!
TBI : What hurdles did you face while developing the application?
Developing the application wasn’t that challenging as we started. Shashank Yaduvanshi and Ravikant Bhargava – also from IITD – took charge of the technology and made the innovation look easy. The tough part was getting the police to adopt something that they hadn’t heard of and that potentially increases transparency and hence, their workload! So thereafter, we had to struggle for one full year before getting our first breakthrough with any police department. Credit for our first breakthrough goes to Arushi Mittal, a team member from Alwar who was determined to take the project to her home town.
TBI : How does Pukar compare with other ‘distress emergency apps’?
Pukar is a unique emergency app for two simple reasons – it works with the police and its core mission is to curb gender-based violence (GBV). The former means that victims can be seen as moving dots on a map in the police control room which enables more efficient and accountable police support, while the focus on GBV ensures that the discourse of implementation is non-patriarchal, and encourages people – men and women alike – to come forward and report all sorts of gender crimes.
TBI : What was the role of other partner organizations in developing the application?
Over time, Pukar has evolved through our conversations with the police and district administration officials. Pravah and Commutiny have shown tremendous faith in us as our initial funders and mentors. Currently, Click Labs is supporting us by creating the Windows and iOS versions of Pukar.
TBI : How can The Better India readers become part of this campaign?
For us, all our users are a part of the Pukar campaign. We think of people who get their friends and family to adopt the app and spread the word about us on social media as our ambassadors, and actively encourage volunteer participation in our online and offline campaigns. We have a thriving volunteer community of 50 people from diverse backgrounds, and many of our police conversations have started through that pool. So, if you really believe in us, just connect us to the police in your city!
TBI : What is the vision for Pukar application?
We wish that Pukar gets institutionalized in the police system across the country. We also hope that Pukar will increase the reporting of gender crimes and empower people by increasing their feeling of safety. Currently, PFP is working on a UN Habitat grant to build local youth-led gender programs in 5 cities, mostly tier 2 and tier 3, which will create a space that helps people challenge the issue of gender-based violence in their lives and communities. Remember that charity begins at home and from our neighborhood. So if you want to support PFP and Pukar, the first step you can take is to report any gender violence incident you experience or witness in your vicinity.