NEW YORK – Bollywood actress Preity Zinta spoke about women’s safety at the FICCI-IIFA Business Forum on July 14, at the Asia Society.
In a fireside chat with Sudhanshu Vats, CEO of Viacom 18, Zinta mentioned that “women’s safety is not just a problem in India; it’s actually a global issue.”
She also emphasized on the fact that many young girls have to listen to their parents telling them to not go out after a certain time of day as it is not safe for them.
Zinta said that five years ago no one really cared about women’s safety. In fact, she remembered someone telling her that “you are worrying about women’s safety, people don’t have water to drink and food.”
So after being involved in sports and business, Zinta decided to launch an app called Kavach, to keep women safe especially at night.
“Kavach is actually a total and realistic solution to women’s safety; it is privatizing emergency response at the press of a button, but it’s backed with higher technology and forensics support,” Zinta said, adding that one can subscribe to the app for Rs. 300 and when they are in trouble. All they have to do is press the button and it will not only send someone but it will also start collecting your forensic evidence.
She said that the collecting of evidence is the only way to stop crime and it is secondary to rescuing a woman physically and taking her to the hospital when it comes to protecting women.
Once you subscribe to the app, one has to go onto the Kavach website where they will give you your Kavach number to download and then will ask you for three things: one; your emergency contact information so if anything were to happen to you they would know who to call, two; your medical history, including all of the conditions you suffer from and your blood group and three; your voice print.
“When something goes wrong, you press the button immediately, you can hold it down on your phone, and it discreetly sends a message to an emergency operation center which is not a call enter or the police and as soon as they find out there is a problem, they will immediately geo-tag you so they know exactly where you are,” explained Zinta.
“As soon as you activate the app it immediately becomes an audio recorder so it records everything that is happening in and around you and gets stored in a cloud which can then be accessed by a forensic unit,” she added comparing a voice print to a finger print and how they are both unique to an individual.
Once that is done, the activation of the app will also let the police know that a crime is being committed and a private response will be sent to the person in trouble, she explained.
“The private response will be anything from two people to five people; let’s say there are five people, three men and two women. The men will be from X-Army, X-Special Forces background and the women will be from X-Army medical background; they will find you like how an Uber will find you,” she said.
Zinta said that they will test the app with about 50,000 women in Pune, out of which 45,000 will be college students and those who are working, and the remaining 5,000 will be from families of military and Army forces, whose men are serving the country.
“If the men from all of these families go to protect our country I think we can look after their women,” she said.
Zinta said that they are opening up a crowd funding website for everyone to donate so they can also be part of the initiative.