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Delhi cabinet okays free ride to women in buses, govt staff have to give up TA to avail it


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Delhi Cabinet on Thursday gave "in principle" approval to the scheme of providing free bus ride for women, but put a rider on female employees of the city government that they have to give up their transport allowance to avail the facility.
The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The free-ride scheme is slated to begin from October 29.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed his cabinet's approval to the scheme a "revolutionary step" towards "empowerment and safety of women".
"I believe those opposing this step will in the future see it as a milestone towards empowerment of women. Poor and lower middle class will get maximum benefit from it," he tweeted.
According to a statement, women employees of the Delhi government, local bodies and undertakings will not be entitled for transport allowance if they opt for free ride in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses.
"The departments, local bodies, autonomous bodies etc will take an undertaking from their women staff to the effect that they are not availing this free travel facility," it said.
The transport department will also write to the Ministry of Finance after implementation of the scheme, to consider issuing necessary instructions in this regard to all ministries, Central government departments and autonomous bodies in Delhi, the statement added.
"Women commuters will be able to get free rides using 'single-journey passes' to be available with the bus conductors. Those not willing to avail free ride may buy tickets," Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said in a press conference.
The Delhi Assembly recently approved a supplementary grant of Rs 140 crore to facilitate free ride for women in buses for the current fiscal.
"Its a very big step as 30 per cent of the travellers in DTC and Cluster buses are women," Gahlot said. The facility will be available in Noida NCR service, airport and other special services operated by DTC and Cluster scheme.
There are around 5,500 buses of DTC and the Cluster scheme of the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) that according to latest official figures carry over 45 lakh passengers each day.
The government will reimburse Rs 10 per single-journey pass, to the DTC and similar payment will be made in case of Cluster buses.
The free ride scheme in buses and Delhi Metro train was announced by Kejriwal in June. However, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) sought time to implement the scheme.
Delhi Assembly has also approved a grant of Rs 150 crore for implementation of schemes in Metro trains.
"The Delhi Metro had said that a board meeting will be held on these issues, but has not mentioned when it will be held," Gahlot said when asked about progress in implementing the scheme in Metro trains.
The cabinet has directed the DTC to propose suitable amendments in DTC (Free & Concessional Passes) Regulations, 1985, if any, so that it could be be notified in the official gazette.
Both DTC and DIMTS will strengthen their ticket checking mechanisms prevent "misuse" and "pilferage" of single journey passes.

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First Published: Aug 29 2019 | 8:30 PM IST

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