‘Don’t need Centre’s nod for free Metro ride’: Arvind Kejriwal
The chief minister also said that the scheme would be optional for women and that, once launched, the government would run a campaign urging women to pay for their ride if they can afford it.Updated: Jun 04, 2019 07:19 IST
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced that his government will propose a plan for women to travel for free in state-run buses and the Metro in the national Capital. He said the step was to ensure safety of women in public transport.
Acknowledging the government had no concrete proposal to roll out the scheme at the moment, Kejriwal said it could take anywhere between two to three months until women will actually be able to avail a free bus or metro ride.
“It has a lot of technicalities involved. So, I have asked the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to submit a detailed project proposal within a week. Then we will know better as to how it will be implemented,” the chief minister said in his press conference at the Delhi Secretariat
The chief minister also said that the scheme would be optional for women and that, once launched, the government would run a campaign urging women to pay for their ride if they can afford it.
The latest scheme follows other sops such as reducing fixed charges in electricity tariffs and providing piped water in dry areas.
On Monday, Kejriwal said that the government did not require the approval from the central government or the metro fare fixation committee for the scheme. “All this is not required as the Delhi government will be bearing all the cost of the subsidy. We are not making any changes in the existing fare structure. For the remaining part of the current fiscal, it is estimated that the scheme would cost the Delhi government anywhere between ₹700-800 crore,” he said. Kejriwal said the DMRC and the DTC have agreed to preparing the proposal. While the DMRC refused comment, the DTC, which is directly under the Delhi government said it will begin preparing its proposal.
“In buses, implementing the scheme won’t be a problem. The conductor will just issue tickets to male passengers,” a DTC official said requesting anonymity.
A DMRC official, however, said that the proposal could face a hurdle if the Centre is not onboard. “The Centre and the Delhi government have 50% equity each in the Delhi Metro. As per the mandate, if Delhi government wants to introduce a scheme, it will have to at least inform the Centre,” he said.
Officials in Delhi government’s finance and law departments said they are yet to receive any proposal from the transport department on the subsidy. While a feasibility study is also awaited, the proposal is yet to be cleared by the Delhi Cabinet. Once passed by the council of ministers, the scheme will have to be passed in the Delhi assembly as separate budgetary provisions will have to be made for it.
“I hope that more women will use public transport once it is made free. We also hope that the free ride will help increase women’s participation in the city’s workforce which currently stands at an abysmal 11% in Delhi,” said transport minister Kailash Gahlot.