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Free Bus And Metro Rides For Women In Delhi. Is It Even Required ?

By LawStreet News Network      03 June, 2019 12:00 AM      0 Comments
Free Bus And Metro Rides For Women In Delhi. Is It Even Required ?

We are about to make an announcement soon, but I will share a part of it with you. We are working on a proposal to make Metro and bus rides free for women. This will encourage them to use public transport and ensure their safety,” said Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi.

Addressing the media, the Aam Aadmi Party chief said that the scheme will not be imposed on anyone and that women are free to purchase tickets if they want.

The government has decided that women will be able to travel for free of cost in DTC, cluster buses and metro. Women who can afford, they are free to purchase tickets. And we will encourage those who can afford to purchase tickets. Have directed officers to prepare a proposal within a week. We will try to implement it in the next two-three months,” he said.

Hitting out at the move, BJP leader Vijender Gupta said: “The transport minister’s assertion that it will take six months to implement the proposal… underlines the fact that it is no more than an election gimmick. Kejriwal knows that by the end of six months, the Model Code of Conduct will come in force in Delhi in view of the Assembly elections. It cannot be overlooked that Kejriwal had put obstacles in the implementation of Metro Phase IV and failed to buy even a single DTC bus during his tenure.”

The Delhi government and the Centre are 50:50 equity partners in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.


LawStreets’ View:

The issue that women commuters face with Delhi public transport is security. That should be the first priority of the Delhi Government. Gender-based freebies don’t empower anyone. The moment you discriminate and patronise people like this, you take a step a back from actual empowerment.

In our view, this measure in the name of safety is totally uncalled for in the very first place. How can travelling free of cost ensure women’s safety ? Making public transport free of cost on the basis of gender is definitely NOT a great move. Why shouldn’t women pay for the services they are using ? This is highly discriminatory in nature and women are very much capable of paying for the services they avail. Women demand safety and security in the capital and how does free transport ensure that ? At the time of the very tragic and unfortunate Nirbhaya incident (who was brutally gang raped in a bus), the country did not protest over free rides for the women but for making the capital safe for its women to be able to take a bus or a metro at any time of the day.

If safety of women had been the genuine concern of Mr. CM, there are various other alternatives that could have been undertaken to ensure women’s safety. One such measure could be to grant a particular number of free rides, say 3-4 free rides, which could be used by women in instances of emergency, without disturbing the revenue model of the Delhi Metro. The CM said that the Delhi government will bear the entire cost of the move, which is around INR 1,200 crore. (Also, the next time the government says it doesn’t have money for something, we all know where to go.)

With assembly elections due by February 2020, the Delhi government’s proposal appears to be nothing more than an election gimmick. Aam Aadmi Party had earlier also promised to deploy marshals for safety of women and panic buttons in buses. It may also be noted that what could not have even been started in 52 months, how can it be done in 5-6 months. Is it just a gimmick to woo the women voters in Delhi in the upcoming assembly elections ?

On another note, very recently the country rejected the 72k INR coming to them. Gone are the days when people could be influenced by free rides. Safety is demanded, not free tickets.

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